Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have required police to obtain warrants for surveillance by drone, making California the latest state to weigh in on an issue that is dividing lawmakers across the country, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Brown's decision comes as the nation grapples with how to balance concerns over privacy and civil liberties with a technology that police departments say can serve as a powerful law-enforcement tool.
The California measure would have allowed some exceptions for police drone use without a warrant in the event of emergencies, such as fires or hostage situations. Public agencies would have been allowed to use drones without a warrant in cases that didn't involve criminal-intelligence gathering and that were central to the agency's mission, but any footage would have to be destroyed within a year.
Mr. Brown, a Democrat, said in a brief veto message Sunday that while warrants are appropriate in some circumstances, the exceptions in the bill appeared to be too narrow. The legislation could impose restrictions beyond existing state and federal privacy protections, Mr. Brown said.