Lawmaker fights against law enforcement use of spy craft
Feb 7, 2013
Among the several States poised to pass legislation to prohibit the use of spy drones is Florida, where a bill to ban the unmanned craft advanced this week, despite the lobbying efforts of law enforcers.
The Community Affairs Committee of the State Senate unanimously approved a bill to ban drones, refusing to water it down by making exceptions for crowd control purposes.
Sheriff’s department representatives and lobbyists for the Florida Sheriffs Association argued that it would save money to use drones, rather than helicopters, to monitor crowds over large scale events such as football games.
“We do not want to use the drone to fly over people’s houses, seeing what they’re doing in their backyards,” Orange County Sheriff’s Capt. Michael Fewless told the committee.
“They have no firearms on them,” Fewless said. “We can’t blow people up. The only thing we can do is take a picture.”
The argument prompted a stern retort from the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joe Negron.
“We know something about crowds,” Negron said. “We had a crowd back in the 1700s. It was called the Boston Tea Party. Can you imagine if King George had sent a drone to hover over the Boston Tea Party to see what the American patriots were up to?”
Negron added, that people are fully aware of helicopters because they can see and hear them, where as drones operate more effectively for surveillance purposes.
“Helicopters yes, drones no, because we have to draw lines,” Negron said. “That is what legislating is all about.”
“What we’re talking about here is Big Brother and the idea that Big Brother is watching,” commented Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat from Orlando.
The bill has to advance through three more committees before it will be considered for a floor vote. The Florida House version of the bill is set to be debated in a hearing Thursday.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.