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Bill would ban drones around Capitol building

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Legislation in Lansing would make it a crime to fly a drone around the state Capitol building without a permit.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission is responsible for maintaining the Capitol grounds, and it voted unanimously on Monday to ban remote-controlled aerial vehicles from flying over the building.

The vote comes on the heels of multiple drone-related incidents at the White House that left national security personnel reconsidering protocol and local officials thinking about their own policies.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is taking up the cause here in Michigan, citing events both in Washington and Lansing as motivating factors. He explained that “recently the state house Capitol has been buzzed by a number of these flying drones looking to take pictures and observe the Capitol.” Jones says the primary concern is one of safety.

“We don’t want [drones] crashing into tourists or students,” he said. “We don’t want them crashing into the historic Capitol. And we really don’t need drones flying around spying on people of the Capitol.”

Jones says he'll introduce a bill to write a ban into state law. It will require drone operates to seek a permit from the capitol commission in order to operate a drone on the grounds. 

- Josh Andrew, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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