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Virginia Senate panel backs moratorium on drones

A Virginia state Senate committee has backed a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by police and government agencies.

The measure approved Monday by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee is similar to one pending in the House of Delegates.

The bills originally would have imposed regulations on the use of drones, including a requirement that authorities obtain a warrant before deploying the small, unmanned surveillance aircraft. Supporters of the regulations say drones pose a threat to Virginians' privacy rights.

Law enforcement groups vigorously opposed the regulations, so lawmakers decided on the moratorium to give them more time to study the issue.

The bills include an exception allowing police to use drones in an emergency, or to search for missing children or elderly people.