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Michigan Lawmakers Call for New Drone Restrictions Near Prisons

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The first Michiganders to be arrested for smuggling contraband into a prison via drone were arraigned this week. Now some lawmakers want tougher laws when it comes to flying drones near prisons. 

Michigan lawmakers have been trying for years to get a law on the books about drones and prisons. The latest version has been waiting for a committee hearing since February. It would prohibit flying a drone within 1-thousand feet of a jail, prison or other law enforcement building.

Democratic Representative John Chirkun is a bill sponsor. He says the law needs to keep up with technology.

“Drones are like thinking outside the box. We’ve never had this, so we gotta shape and make laws to take care of these things.”

The Michigan Department of Corrections says it’ll work with lawmakers on the issue. 

“This is a serious issue and we’re looking to have a serious discussion about this with the legislature. And to their credit the legislature’s been very engaged," said MDOC's Chris Gautz.

In the meantime, they’re focused on training officers to keep unwanted packages from dropping out of the sky.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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