Politics & Government

Brownback signs bill to ban harassment from drones

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Kansans no longer need to fear harassment from drones.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation Friday that expands the definition of harassment in the state’s Protection from Stalking Act to include the use of an unmanned aerial system – more commonly known as a drone – to harass a person “over or near any dwelling, occupied vehicle, or other place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from uninvited intrusion or surveillance.”

The legislation is the result of an ongoing dispute in Olathe, where one family has reported repeated harassment from a neighbor with a drone. The language is one of several provisions lawmakers stuck into SB 319 last week during their wrap-up session.

The bill also includes language that’s meant to protect people from facing lawsuits when they speak out at public meetings or on the internet.

The bill sets up a hearing process intended to make it easier to dismiss strategic lawsuits against public participation – more commonly known as SLAPP suits – in which a corporation or wealthy individual seeks to silence critics by tying them up in litigation.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3