08/28/2013 03:37 pm ET

Illinois Drone Regulation Bill Signed Into Law By Gov. Pat Quinn


Illinois on Tuesday became the latest state to institute regulations of law enforcement's use of drones.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss, a Democrat, was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, the Associated Press reports.

The legislation will require law enforcement to get a search warrant before they can legally collect information using sophisticated, unmanned "drone" aircraft. Exceptions carved out by the law are made for when the Department of Homeland Security deems drone surveillance is needed to thwart a terrorist threat.

A Quinn spokesman told NBC Chicago the governor signed the bill -- which was approved by the Senate in April and the House in May -- to help protect Illinoisans' right to privacy.

Mary Dixon, legislative director of the ACLU Illinois, applauded Gov. Quinn's signage of the bill in a Tuesday statement.

"The measure, which won broad support in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, provides basic privacy protections for all residents in Illinois when state or local law enforcement officials use drone surveillance technology," Dixon said.

The bill signed Tuesday isn't the first drone legislation to come across the governor's desk this month. On Aug. 17, Gov. Quinn signed into law a bill banning the use of drones to interfere with hunters and fishers' activities after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claimed to be shopping for drones that would monitor them, the Southern previously reported.

Meanwhile, drones were also a topic of conversation after a Tuesday tweet from Chicago Ald. George Cardenas (12th) indicated his support for the usage of drones to help secure Chicago Public Schools' "safe passage" routes, DNAinfo reported.

In the coming years, thousands of new civilian drones are expected to be in operation in the U.S. skies.



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