State Senate OKs bill that would add prison time for drone crimes

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has passed a bill that would allow prosecutors to seek an extra year in prison for offenders who use a drone aircraft while committing a crime.

Senate Bill 5499 passed on a 34-15 vote Tuesday and now heads to the House for consideration. It adds the allegation of a “nefarious drone enterprise” to Washington criminal law. The state currently has no restrictions on the use of drones, although 20 other states have enacted laws on drone-related issues.

The bill adds a year to the sentencing range that dictates how judges can punish an offense. The measure was one a handful of other bills concerning drones that were filed in the Legislature this session in the wake of Gov. Jay Inslee’s veto of a bill last year that would have restricted how state and local government agencies use the unmanned aircraft.

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