Capitol wrap-up: Week of March 16

Drone bill wins House approval

A privacy measure that would limit future drone use will go up for a final vote this week.

The legislation was greenlit by the Missouri House last week and will head to the Senate for adoption. Sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Wilson, R-Smithville, the bill would prevent law enforcement agencies and individuals — namely, journalists — from using unwarranted aerial surveillance equipment.

Some exceptions were made for law enforcement: Wilson’s proposal would still allow authorities to use drones so long as they had a warrant, and it would still allow the armed forces free rein for domestic operations. The measure would also allow the use of drones for research purposes by Missouri-based universities, corporations and rural utility companies.

Wilson, a member of the House’s Privacy Protection and Downsizing State Government committees, told fellow representatives that his legislation is meant to protect Missourians’ privacy rights without interfering with ongoing and future drone research projects.

Single beer bottle bill passes Senate

A Glendale republican’s proposal to allow grocers to sell individual beer bottles almost unanimously passed the Senate last week and now heads to the House for approval.

Put forth by Sen. Eric Schmitt, the bill would bring the number of cans, bottles or pouches required for a legal sale down from three to one. “Singles,” as proponents call them, would be sold at licensed convenience stores and grocers.

It’s a move that would give an upper hand to businesses whose customers might not want to purchase larger containers of alcohol, said Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City.

Schmitt’s proposal has been implemented elsewhere. In Washington, D.C., most of the city’s wards have outright banned the sale of single-serving alcohol since 2004 after complaints of loitering and public intoxication swept the city council.

But for Missouri, Justus said, it’s just a neat way to help out small businesses.

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