Missouri lawmakers are advancing legislation that would make it a crime to fly a drone near a prison or mental hospital because of concerns that drones could be used to deliver drugs or weapons.

A bill passed Thursday by the Senate would make it a felony offense, with punishments getting increasingly tougher if the drone was delivering drugs, aiding an escape or bringing guns, knives or other weapons to inmates.

A version passed by the House last month carried similar felony penalties while also making it a misdemeanor to purposely fly a drone within 300 feet of a prison, jail or mental hospital — even if it’s not delivering contraband.

For a bill to go to the governor, both chambers must pass identical versions.

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