By Hugh McQuaid
HARTFORD – Lawmakers want to create new penalties for crimes committed with unmanned aircraft and establish rules for how police use drones in investigations as part of a far-reaching bill governing drones in Connecticut.
The Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the bill Monday at the Legislative Office Building. State lawmakers are looking to weigh in on the issue this year as the Federal Aviation Administration is working on establishing regulations for drones flying above 400 feet. Those new regulations could see the small, relatively inexpensive aircraft become much more common.
“With this kind of technology, there’s certainly propensity to do a lot of amazing things but at the same time there’s concerns about privacy. That’s what we’re trying to address,” Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven, said.
The bill would make “use of an unmanned aircraft” a crime. A conviction under the new statute could be as severe as a Class B felony if the drone was weaponized. Lesser degrees of the crime involve stalking, voyeurism, and harassment and would result in a Class C felony.
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