MEMO: #MAStandsWithRand

(Fattman and Hedlund say no drones without a warrant. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

You may read Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s Memos on our website at www.MassFiscal.org/Memos. Below is a copy of the text for today’s Memo.

MEMO:

March 7, 2013

Filibuster, #StandWithRand & Drones

Yesterday, U.S.  Senator Rand Paul brought national attention to the reality of the need for regulation of domestic drone usage through a rare one man filibuster. As drones have widely increased in their purpose domestically, their relatively recent introduction to domestic use threatens Americans being legally unprepared for a situation where drone use could infringe on their Constitutional rights.

In Yesterday’s Senate Judiciary hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that in a hypothetical extreme case, the President could authorize a drone strike on a U.S. citizen in the United States. Although extreme and hypothetical, this situation highlighted the legal gaps in regulations on domestic drone usage. The FAA continues to work on regulation for the technical operation and safety of drones domestically, but a governing body must take a stand to protect citizen’s constitutional rights from being infringed upon.

Senator Paul quickly became an online sensation and the hashtag #StandWithRand quickly populated Twitter. At one point, several other U.S. Senators joined Senator Paul and read Tweets from #StandWithRand to pass time during the filibuster.

The next morning, Massachusetts State Senator Bob Hedlund Tweeted, “Hope this drone talk generates some support for my bill filed w/ #ACLU to limit drone use here in MA #StandWithRand #MAPOLI.”  State Representative Ryan Fattman Tweeted, “Before @SenRandPaul took his stand, I helped file #MaH1357 regulating Domestic Drones in MA #MaPoli.”

The legislation Representative Fattman and Senator Hedlund support is Bill H. 1357 and Bill S.1664, “An Act to Regulate the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

The proposed legislation takes into account that despite the usefulness of domestic drones, their lack of boundary leaves them susceptible to abuse in overstepping our Constitutional liberties. It lays out a series of regulations on domestic drones to avoid such abuse, specifically stating that “unmanned aerial vehicles may not be equipped with weapons” among other things.  

As James Madison once said, “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”  This week, the U.S. Senate propelled the topic of “unmanned aerial vehicles” to the forefront and our state leaders were ready with their own version of the same topic.

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