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Idaho Senate Passes Measure To Encourage Drone Test Site

Idaho’s skies are theoretically closer to being filled with unmanned aircraft after senators approved a measure encouraging the state to apply to become one of six drone test sites to be operated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Wednesday’s vote was 28-6 for the measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, a former Navy pilot from Boise.

It now goes to the House.

Winder told lawmakers winning such a site could be a boost to Idaho’s economy.

Opponents including Boise Democratic Sen. Les Bock raised privacy concerns, saying they were uneasy with the specter of unmanned aircraft spying on residents.

But Sen. Marv Hagedorn, a Meridian Republican, said privacy concerns would be addressed by a follow-up bill establishing clear legal guidelines for when Idaho law enforcement agencies could use unmanned aircraft.

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