California governor vetoes bill requiring warrants for police drones

Reuters / Mike Segar

Despite widely clearing both the state’s Senate and Assembly, California Governor Jerry Brown shot down a bill on Sunday that would have imposed restrictions on when law enforcement agencies can use drones for surveillance.

Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement over the weekend that he was vetoing the drone accountability act that, had it been signed into law, would require police agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned vehicle, or drone, for aerial surveillance.

“There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill’s exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the Fourth Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution,” Brown said on Sunday.

One of the bill’s authors, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, said in a tweet on Sunday that “The era of govt. surveillance continues” after the governor’s veto was announced.

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