Florida police want lawmakers to make an exception for crowd control in a bill that bans the use of drones for law and code enforcement, but the measure won committee approval Wednesday without that change.

The request prompted the bill’s sponsor to ask what if King George had sent a drone to the Boston Tea Party.

The Community Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill (SB 92) to ban drones with exceptions for certain emergencies, suspected terrorism and surveillance that’s been approved by a judge.

“What we’re talking about here is Big Brother and the idea that Big Brother is watching,” said Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando.

Thompson is among several committee members who urged Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican sponsoring the bill, to consider loosening some of its restrictions, although they voted for the measure.

“We have a responsibility to protect people’s liberty, but I think we have also a responsibility to protect people’s lives,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

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Senator Thompson weighs in on drone use by local police
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