Topeka Concerns over privacy and public safety were voiced Friday as a Senate committee advanced a bill aimed at regulating unmanned vehicles, or drones.
State Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, said Senate Bill 409 was designed to protect the privacy of individuals and business from drones equipped with cameras and recording devices.
"The potential for abuse is there and is real," said Tyson.
But several members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee said they thought the bill produced by Tyson's subcommittee went too far in limiting the use of drones by law enforcement and the military.
"This deals with things far outside the scope" of the committee, said state Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park. Smith tried to send the issue to the Judicial Council, which reviews legal issues, for further study, but his motion was rejected.
State Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, asked if under the bill, the military would be prohibited from flying drones over private property to move the machines to other facilities. Tyson said the military would have to guide the drones over public lands.
Tyson said the Legislature needed to act on the issue to protect Kansans' privacy. The bill was sent to the full Senate on a voice vote.