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Mass. and other states eye drone laws

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Massachusetts is one of 43 US states that have passed or are considering legislation to regulate the use of unpiloted aerial vehicles or drone aircraft. But the Bay State stands out as the only state to propose a ban on the use of drones to collect information about people’s political, social or religious views.

A survey published Monday by the online legal research service WestlawNext found that lawmakers across the country are moving to set limits on the use of drones. But the survey found considerable differences in the various proposals.

So far, 39 states have put forward laws or bills to forbid the use of a drone for surveillance unless a search warrant is first obtained. In addition, 18 states would put some limits on civilian use of drones, and 17 states would ban the use of drones equipped with weapons.

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At least two states, Nevada and Washington state, have enacted tax incentives to encourage the development of drones. Legislators in Virginia have proposed banning the use of drones to interfere with hunting. And in Massachusetts, GOP State Senator Robert Hedlund of Weymouth and Democratic State Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut. have filed a bill that would bar the use of drones to monitor people based on their religion or politics, unless such information relates to the investigation of a crime.

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