House committee kills anti-drone bill

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Senate bill prohibiting unmanned drone's from shooting pictures or video was killed in a House committee Tuesday afternoon. Sen. Dan Claitor R-Baton Rouge wanted to put criminal penalties on unauthorized video in people's private land and space.

"Then it has two kinds of penalties taking pictures and possessing the pictures. The other class of penalty is taking pictures and publishing the pictures essentially on the internet," says Claitor.

If Senate Bill 330 by Dan Claitor had cleared the Senate, it would have made it illegal to take, transmit, or publish video or photos taken from drones. Claitor argued that since there is no laws governing drones, people would take inappropriate video. Opponents say the law was too broad and would impede legitimate journalists from doing their jobs.

"The drone is simply another tool that journalist can use to practice their craft to do one of the most basic things we do in journalism; capture images and tell stories," said Sonya Duhe', Loyola Journalism Professor.

"What you just mentioned is the media's hunger and desire for an ever increasing wow factor. Let me get as close as I possibly can or into it as I possibly can," said Representative Austin Badon, D-New Orleans.

WAFB-TV General Manager Lee Meredith told the committee that public safety is a priority for broadcasters and the use of drones' maybe helpful.

"Legitimate photography obtained through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles can have an immense value to the public. The most important category of legitimate public value, the most important categories are all of the areas where UAV photography might be used to enhance public safety," says Meredith.

The bill was defeated by a 7-6 vote. The swing vote was cast by Representative Helena Moreno, a former television reporter

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.