State Drone Law


Illinois Drone Laws by Attorney & Pilot (2018)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

620 ILCS 5/42.1

Sec. 42.1. Regulation of unmanned aircraft systems.
(a) As used in this Section:
“Unmanned aircraft” means a device used or intended to be used for flight in the air that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention within or on the device.
“Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and its associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft, that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system.

(b) To the extent that State-level oversight does not conflict with federal laws, rules, or regulations, the regulation of an unmanned aircraft system is an exclusive power and function of the State. No unit of local government, including home rule unit, may enact an ordinance or resolution to regulate unmanned aircraft systems. This Section is a denial and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution. This Section does not apply to any local ordinance enacted by a municipality of more than 1,000,000 inhabitants.

(c) Nothing in this Section shall infringe or impede any current right or remedy available under existing State law.

(d) The Department may adopt any rules that it finds appropriate to address the safe and legal operation of unmanned aircraft systems in this State, so that those engaged in the operation of unmanned aircraft systems may so engage with the least possible restriction, consistent with their safety and with the safety and the rights of others, and in compliance with federal rules and regulations.

 

(70 ILCS 5/) Airport Authorities Act.

70 ILCS 5/8.12

Sec. 8.12. To police its property and to exercise police powers in respect thereto or in respect to the enforcement of any rule or regulation provided by the ordinances of the Authority and to employ and establish, maintain, and equip a security force for fire and police protection of a public airport and to provide that the personnel of the security force shall perform other tasks relating to the maintenance and operation of that airport. Such a security force shall not be deemed to be a regularly constituted police or fire department within the meaning of Sections 10-3-1 and 10-3-2 of the Illinois Municipal Code. However, members of such security force are conservators of the peace and as such have all powers possessed by policemen in cities, and sheriffs, including the power to make arrests on view or warrants of violations of federal and state statutes, city or county ordinances and rules and regulations of the Authority and governing federal agencies; provided, that they may exercise such powers only within the area of jurisdiction of the Authority when such exercise is required for the protection of Authority properties and interests, its personnel and persons utilizing its facilities, and otherwise, within such jurisdiction, when specifically requested by appropriate federal, State or local law enforcement officials. With respect to any security force established for police protection, the members of such security force shall be persons who have successfully completed an approved training course or approved training program offered at a police training school established under the “Illinois Police Training Act”, as such Act may be now or hereafter amended. The members of such security force may not serve and execute civil processes.

 

(725 ILCS 167/) Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act.

(725 ILCS 167/1)

Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/5)

Sec. 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:

“Authority” means the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

“Drone” means any aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator.

“Information” means any evidence, images, sounds, data, or other information gathered by a drone.

“Law enforcement agency” means any agency of this State or a political subdivision of this State which is vested by law with the duty to maintain public order and to enforce criminal laws.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/10)

Sec. 10. Prohibited use of drones. Except as provided in Section 15, a law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather information.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/15)

Sec. 15. Exceptions. This Act does not prohibit the use of a drone by a law enforcement agency:

(1) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is that risk.

(2) If a law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant based on probable cause issued under Section 108-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. The warrant must be limited to a period of 45 days, renewable by the judge upon a showing of good cause for subsequent periods of 45 days.

(3) If a law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence. The use of a drone under this paragraph (3) is limited to a period of 48 hours. Within 24 hours of the initiation of the use of a drone under this paragraph (3), the chief executive officer of the law enforcement agency must report in writing the use of a drone to the local State’s Attorney.

(4) If a law enforcement agency is attempting to locate a missing person, and is not also undertaking a criminal investigation.

(5) If a law enforcement agency is using a drone solely for crime scene and traffic crash scene photography. Crime scene and traffic crash photography must be conducted in a geographically confined and time-limited manner to document specific occurrences. The use of a drone under this paragraph (5) on private property requires either a search warrant based on probable cause under Section 108-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 or lawful consent to search. The use of a drone under this paragraph (5) on lands, highways, roadways, or areas belonging to this State or political subdivisions of this State does not require a search warrant or consent to search. Any law enforcement agency operating a drone under this paragraph (5) shall make every reasonable attempt to only photograph the crime scene or traffic crash scene and avoid other areas.

(6) If a law enforcement agency is using a drone during a disaster or public health emergency, as defined by Section 4 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act. The use of a drone under this paragraph (6) does not require an official declaration of a disaster or public health emergency prior to use. A law enforcement agency may use a drone under this paragraph (6) to obtain information necessary for the determination of whether or not a disaster or public health emergency should be declared, to monitor weather or emergency conditions, to survey damage, or to otherwise coordinate response and recovery efforts. The use of a drone under this paragraph (6) is permissible during the disaster or public health emergency and during subsequent response and recovery efforts.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14; 98-831, eff. 1-1-15.)

    (725 ILCS 167/20)

Sec. 20. Information retention. If a law enforcement agency uses a drone under Section 15 of this Act, the agency within 30 days shall destroy all information gathered by the drone, except that a supervisor at that agency may retain particular information if:

(1) there is reasonable suspicion that the information contains evidence of criminal activity, or

(2) the information is relevant to an ongoing investigation or pending criminal trial.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/25)

Sec. 25. Information disclosure. If a law enforcement agency uses a drone under Section 15 of this Act, the agency shall not disclose any information gathered by the drone, except that a supervisor of that agency may disclose particular information to another government agency, if (1) there is reasonable suspicion that the information contains evidence of criminal activity, or (2) the information is relevant to an ongoing investigation or pending criminal trial.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/30)

Sec. 30. Admissibility. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a law enforcement agency used a drone to gather information in violation of the information gathering limits in Sections 10 and 15 of this Act, then the information shall be presumed to be inadmissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding. The State may overcome this presumption by proving the applicability of a judicially recognized exception to the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or Article I, Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution to the information. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to prevent a court from independently reviewing the admissibility of the information for compliance with the aforementioned provisions of the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/35)

Sec. 35. Reporting.

(a) If a law enforcement agency owns one or more drones, then subsequent to the effective date of this Act, it shall report in writing annually by April 1 to the Authority the number of drones that it owns.

(b) On July 1 of each year, the Authority shall publish on its publicly available website a concise report that lists every law enforcement agency that owns a drone, and for each of those agencies, the number of drones that it owns.

(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)

    (725 ILCS 167/40)

Sec. 40. Law enforcement use of private drones.

(a) Except as provided in Section 15, a law enforcement agency may not acquire information from or direct the acquisition of information through the use of a drone owned by a private third party. In the event that law enforcement acquires information from or directs the acquisition of information through the use of a privately owned drone under Section 15 of this Act, any information so acquired is subject to Sections 20 and 25 of this Act.

(b) Nothing in this Act prohibits private third parties from voluntarily submitting information acquired by a privately owned drone to law enforcement. In the event that law enforcement acquires information from the voluntary submission of that information, whether under a request or on a private drone owner’s initiative, the information is subject to Sections 20 and 25 of this Act.

(Source: P.A. 98-831, eff. 1-1-15.)

(20 ILCS 5065/) Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force Act.

(20 ILCS 5065/1)

(Section scheduled to be repealed on September 1, 2017)

Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force Act.

(Source: P.A. 99-392, eff. 8-18-15.)

    (20 ILCS 5065/5)

(Section scheduled to be repealed on September 1, 2017)

Sec. 5. Purpose. The use of drones is becoming more common in everyday applications both commercially and privately. It is clear that increased drone use creates emerging conflicts and challenges to providing guidance into the safe operation of drones, while not infringing upon the constitutional rights of others. It is necessary to establish a task force to provide oversight and input in creating comprehensive laws and rules for the operation and use of drone technology within this State, subject to federal oversight and regulation.

(Source: P.A. 99-392, eff. 8-18-15.)

    (20 ILCS 5065/10)

(Section scheduled to be repealed on September 1, 2017)

Sec. 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:

“Task Force” means the Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force.

“Unmanned Aerial System” or “UAS” means an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone.

(Source: P.A. 99-392, eff. 8-18-15.)

    (20 ILCS 5065/15)

(Section scheduled to be repealed on September 1, 2017)

Sec. 15. The Unmanned Aerial System Task Force.

(a) There is hereby created the Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force to study and make recommendations for the operation, usage, and regulation of Unmanned Aerial Systems, commonly referred to as “drone” technology, within this State.

(b) Within 90 days after the effective date of this Act members of the Task Force shall be appointed by the Governor and shall consist of one member from each of the following agencies or interest groups:

(1) a member of the Division of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation, nominated by the Secretary of Transportation;

(2) a member of the Department of State Police, nominated by the Director of State Police;

(3) a Conservation Police officer of the Department of Natural Resources, nominated by the Director of Natural Resources;

(4) a member of the Department of Agriculture, nominated by the Director of Agriculture;

(5) a member of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, nominated by the Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity;

(6) a UAS technical commercial representative;

(7) a UAS manufacturing industry representative;

(8) a person nominated by the Attorney General;

(9) a member of the Illinois Conservation Police Lodge, nominated by the president of the Lodge;

(10) a member of a statewide sportsmen’s federation, nominated by the president of the federation;

(11) a member of a statewide agricultural association, nominated by the president of the association;

(12) a member of a statewide commerce association, nominated by the president or executive director of the association;

(13) a person nominated by an electric utility company serving retail customers in this State;

(14) a member of the Illinois National Guard, nominated by the Adjutant General;

(15) a member of a statewide retail association, nominated by the president of the association;

(16) a member of a statewide manufacturing trade association, nominated by the president or chief executive officer of the association;

(17) a member of a statewide property and casualty insurance association, nominated by the president or chief executive officer of the association;

(18) a member of a statewide association representing real estate brokers licensed in this State, nominated by the president of the association;

(19) a member of a statewide surveying association, nominated by the president of the association;

(20) a law enforcement official from a municipality with a population of 2 million or more inhabitants, nominated by the mayor of the municipality;

(21) a law enforcement official from a municipality with a population of less than 2 million inhabitants, nominated by a statewide police chiefs association;

(22) a member of a statewide freight railroad association, nominated by the president of the association; and

(23) a member of a statewide broadcasters association, nominated by the president of the association.

(b-5) Within 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly, 8 members of the Task Force shall also be appointed as follows: 2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2 members appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, 2 members appointed by the President of the Senate, and 2 members appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate.

(c) Nominations to the Task Force must be submitted to the Governor within 60 days of August 18, 2015 (the effective date of Public Act 99-392), except that the nomination from a statewide broadcasters association shall be made within 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly. The Governor shall make the appointments within 30 days after the close of nominations. The term of the appointment shall be until submission of the report of comprehensive recommendations under subsection (g) of this Section. The member from the Division of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation shall chair the Task Force and serve as a liaison to the Governor and General Assembly. Meetings of the Task Force shall be held as necessary to complete the duties of the Task Force. Meetings of the Task Force shall be held in the central part of the State.

(d) The members of the Task Force shall receive no compensation for serving as members of the Task Force.

(e) The Task Force shall consider commercial and private uses of drones, landowner and privacy rights, as well as general rules and regulations for safe operation of drones, and prepare comprehensive recommendations for the safe and lawful operation of UAS in this State.

(f) The Department of Transportation shall provide administrative support to the Task Force.

(g) The Task Force shall submit a report with recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly no later than July 1, 2017.

(Source: P.A. 99-392, eff. 8-18-15; 99-649, eff. 7-28-16.)

(720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012.

(720 ILCS 5/48-3)

Sec. 48-3. Hunter or fisherman interference.

(a) Definitions. As used in this Section:

“Aquatic life” means all fish, reptiles, amphibians, crayfish, and mussels the taking of which is authorized by the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.

“Interfere with” means to take any action that physically impedes, hinders, or obstructs the lawful taking of wildlife or aquatic life.

“Taking” means the capture or killing of wildlife or aquatic life and includes travel, camping, and other acts preparatory to taking which occur on lands or waters upon which the affected person has the right or privilege to take such wildlife or aquatic life.

“Wildlife” means any wildlife the taking of which is authorized by the Wildlife Code and includes those species that are lawfully released by properly licensed permittees of the Department of Natural Resources.

(b) A person commits hunter or fisherman interference when he or she intentionally or knowingly:   ………

(10) uses a drone in a way that interferes with another person’s lawful taking of wildlife or aquatic life. For the purposes of this paragraph (10), “drone” means any aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator.

(c) Exemptions; defenses.

(1) This Section does not apply to actions performed by authorized employees of the Department of Natural Resources, duly accredited officers of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, or other peace officers if the actions are authorized by law and are necessary for the performance of their official duties.

(2) This Section does not apply to landowners, tenants, or lease holders exercising their legal rights to the enjoyment of land, including, but not limited to, farming and restricting trespass.

(3) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for a violation of this Section that the defendant’s conduct is protected by his or her right to freedom of speech under the constitution of this State or the United States.

(4) Any interested parties may engage in protests or other free speech activities adjacent to or on the perimeter of the location where the lawful taking of wildlife or aquatic life is taking place, provided that none of the provisions of this Section are being violated.

(d) Sentence. A first violation of paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (b) is a Class B misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor for which imprisonment for not less than 7 days shall be imposed. A person guilty of a second or subsequent violation of paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (b) is not eligible for court supervision. A violation of paragraph (9) or (10) of subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor. A court shall revoke, for a period of one year to 5 years, any Illinois hunting, fishing, or trapping privilege, license or permit of any person convicted of violating any provision of this Section. For purposes of this subsection, a “second or subsequent violation” means a conviction under paragraphs (1) through (8) of subsection (b) of this Section within 2 years of a prior violation arising from a separate set of circumstances.

(e) Injunctions; damages.

(1) Any court may enjoin conduct which would be in violation of paragraphs (1) through (8) or (10) of subsection (b) upon petition by a person affected or who reasonably may be affected by the conduct, upon a showing that the conduct is threatened or that it has occurred on a particular premises in the past and that it is not unreasonable to expect that under similar circumstances it will be repeated.

(2) A court shall award all resulting costs and damages to any person adversely affected by a violation of paragraphs (1) through (8) or (10) of subsection (b), which may include an award for punitive damages. In addition to other items of special damage, the measure of damages may include expenditures of the affected person for license and permit fees, travel, guides, special equipment and supplies, to the extent that these expenditures were rendered futile by prevention of the taking of wildlife or aquatic life.

(Source: P.A. 97-1108, eff. 1-1-13; 98-402, eff. 8-16-13.)

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California Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot(2018)

california-drone-laws

Are you interested in California drone laws?

If so, you are in the right spot. Not only does federal drone law apply to flying around California state, California drone laws apply as well!

The law below isn’t paraphrased or summarized which is extremely important so you can understand the California drone laws. If you need help interpreting the California drone laws, I highly highly suggest you contact an attorney in the state of California. I’m a Florida attorney that can assist you with federal draw law but I’m not an expert on California drone laws.

If you are feeling frustrated understanding the California drone law, I would suggest printing it out and going through each section and try and highlight the major points. Do this with all the California drone laws below a few time and you’ll start to gain some understanding. Highlight words like and, or, but, except, unless as these words are very important.

 

NOTICE: This article on California drone laws is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for California laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent California drone law attorney before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws (federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 

These California drone laws are current as of February 21, 2017

 

California Civil Code 43.101.  

(a) An emergency responder shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if that damage was caused while the emergency responder was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of the emergency services listed in Section 853 of the Government Code.

(b)

(1) For purposes of this section, “emergency responder” means either of the following, if acting within the scope of authority implicitly or expressly provided by a local public entity or a public employee of a local public entity to provide emergency services:

(A) A paid or an unpaid volunteer.

(B) A private entity.

(2) All of the following terms shall have the same meaning as the terms as used in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 853) of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code:

(A) Local public entity.

(B) Public employee of a local public entity.

(C) Unmanned aircraft.

(D) Unmanned aircraft system.

California Civil Code 1708.8.  

(a) A person is liable for physical invasion of privacy when the person knowingly enters onto the land or into the airspace above the land of another person without permission or otherwise commits a trespass in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.

(b) A person is liable for constructive invasion of privacy when the person attempts to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity, through the use of any device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass, if this image, sound recording, or other physical impression could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the device was used.

(c) An assault or false imprisonment committed with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff is subject to subdivisions (d), (e), and (h).

(d) A person who commits any act described in subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for up to three times the amount of any general and special damages that are proximately caused by the violation of this section. This person may also be liable for punitive damages, subject to proof according to Section 3294. If the plaintiff proves that the invasion of privacy was committed for a commercial purpose, the person shall also be subject to disgorgement to the plaintiff of any proceeds or other consideration obtained as a result of the violation of this section. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(e) A person who directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate any provision of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for any general, special, and consequential damages resulting from each said violation. In addition, the person that directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate this section shall be liable for punitive damages to the extent that an employer would be subject to punitive damages pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3294. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(f)

(1) The transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, offer for sale, or other use of any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) shall not constitute a violation of this section unless the person, in the first transaction following the taking or capture of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression with actual knowledge that it was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c), and provided compensation, consideration, or remuneration, monetary or otherwise, for the rights to the unlawfully obtained visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), “actual knowledge” means actual awareness, understanding, and recognition, obtained prior to the time at which the person purchased or acquired the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, that the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c). The plaintiff shall establish actual knowledge by clear and convincing evidence.

(3) Any person that publicly transmits, publishes, broadcasts, sells, or offers for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was previously publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale by another person, is exempt from liability under this section.

(4) If a person’s first public transmission, publication, broadcast, or sale or offer for sale of a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) does not constitute a violation of this section, that person’s subsequent public transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, or offer for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, does not constitute a violation of this section.

(5) This section applies only to a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that is captured or taken in California in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) after January 1, 2010, and shall not apply to any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression taken or captured outside of California.

(6) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to impair or limit a special motion to strike pursuant to Section 425.16, 425.17, or 425.18 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(7) This section shall not be construed to limit all other rights or remedies of the plaintiff in law or equity, including, but not limited to, the publication of private facts.

(g) This section shall not be construed to impair or limit any otherwise lawful activities of law enforcement personnel or employees of governmental agencies or other entities, either public or private, who, in the course and scope of their employment, and supported by an articulable suspicion, attempt to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of a person during an investigation, surveillance, or monitoring of any conduct to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity or other misconduct, the suspected violation of any administrative rule or regulation, a suspected fraudulent conduct, or any activity involving a violation of law or business practices or conduct of public officials adversely affecting the public welfare, health, or safety.

(h) In any action pursuant to this section, the court may grant equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction and restraining order against further violations of subdivision (a), (b), or (c).

(i) The rights and remedies provided in this section are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(j) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that no image, recording, or physical impression was captured or sold.

(k) For the purposes of this section, “for a commercial purpose” means any act done with the expectation of a sale, financial gain, or other consideration. A visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression shall not be found to have been, or intended to have been, captured for a commercial purpose unless it is intended to be, or was in fact, sold, published, or transmitted.

(l)

(1) For the purposes of this section, “private, personal, and familial activity” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Intimate details of the plaintiff’s personal life under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(B) Interaction with the plaintiff’s family or significant others under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(C) If and only after the person has been convicted of violating Section 626.8 of the Penal Code, any activity that occurs when minors are present at any location set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 626.8 of the Penal Code.

(D) Any activity that occurs on a residential property under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(E) Other aspects of the plaintiff’s private affairs or concerns under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(2) “Private, personal, and familial activity” does not include illegal or otherwise criminal activity as delineated in subdivision (g). However, “private, personal, and familial activity” shall include the activities of victims of crime in circumstances under which subdivision (a), (b), or (c) would apply.

(m)

(1) A proceeding to recover the civil fines specified in subdivision (d) or (e) may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction by a county counsel or city attorney.

(2) Fines collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be allocated, as follows:

(A) One-half shall be allocated to the prosecuting agency.

(B) One-half shall be deposited in the Arts and Entertainment Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury.

(3) Funds in the Arts and Entertainment Fund created pursuant to paragraph (2) may be expended by the California Arts Council, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to issue grants pursuant to the Dixon-Zenovich-Maddy California Arts Act of 1975 (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 8750) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(4) The rights and remedies provided in this subdivision are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(n) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 521, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

 

California Government Code 853.  

A local public entity or public employee of a local public entity shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if the damage was caused while the local public entity or public employee of a local public entity was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of any of the following emergency services:

(a) Emergency medical services or ambulance transport services, including, but not limited to, air ambulance services.

(b) Firefighting or firefighting-related services, including, but not limited to, air services related to firefighting or firefighting-related services.

(c) Search and rescue services, including, but not limited to, air search and rescue services.

 

California Government Code 853.1

The immunity provided by this chapter is in addition to any other immunity provided to a local public entity or public employee of a local public entity under law.

 

California Government Code 853.5.  

The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

(a) “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

(b) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including, but not limited to, communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

California Penal Code 402 

(a)

(1) Every person who goes to the scene of an emergency, or stops at the scene of an emergency, for the purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel, or military personnel coping with the emergency in the course of their duties during the time it is necessary for emergency vehicles or those personnel to be at the scene of the emergency or to be moving to or from the scene of the emergency for the purpose of protecting lives or property, unless it is part of the duties of that person’s employment to view that scene or those activities, and thereby impedes police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel or military personnel, in the performance of their duties in coping with the emergency, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, a person shall include a person, regardless of his or her location, who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone that is at the scene of an emergency.

(b) Every person who knowingly resists or interferes with the lawful efforts of a lifeguard in the discharge or attempted discharge of an official duty in an emergency situation, when the person knows or reasonably should know that the lifeguard is engaged in the performance of his or her official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) For the purposes of this section, an emergency includes a condition or situation involving injury to persons, damage to property, or peril to the safety of persons or property, which results from a fire, an explosion, an airplane crash, flooding, windstorm damage, a railroad accident, a traffic accident, a powerplant accident, a toxic chemical or biological spill, or any other natural or human-caused event.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 817, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2017.)

 

 

California Food and Agriculture Code. Division 6, Chapter 5. Article 1.

  1. (a) It is unlawful for any person to operate a manned aircraft in pest control unless the pilot operating the aircraft holds a valid manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate issued by the director and an appropriate and valid commercial pilot’s certificate and a current appropriate medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to operate an unmanned aircraft system in pest control unless the pilot operating the unmanned aircraft system holds a valid manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate or a valid unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate issued by the director and is certified or otherwise authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate an unmanned aircraft system approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct pest control.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 1. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. (a) Each manned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate shall designate the manned pest control aircraft pilot’s status as a journeyman or apprentice.

(b) Each unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate shall designate the unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s status as a journeyman, apprentice, or vector control technician.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 2. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

11902.5.  To be eligible for an unmanned pest control aircraft pilot’s certificate under the status of vector control technician, a pilot shall be certified by the State Department of Public Health as a vector control technician in the category of mosquito control pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 2052 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 3. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. A fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5 shall accompany each application for an initial certificate.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 51. Effective January 1, 2004.)

 

  1. Every certificate shall expire on December 31 of the year for which it is issued. Certificates may be renewed before the expiration date by application to the director and upon payment of a fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5. A penalty fee as prescribed by the director pursuant to Section 11502.5 shall be paid by an applicant who applies for renewal after the expiration date.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 741, Sec. 52. Effective January 1, 2004.)

 

  1. Before an initial manned or unmanned certificate is issued, the applicant for an apprentice, journeyman, or vector control technician shall pass an examination to demonstrate to the director his or her ability to legally and safely conduct pest control operations and his or her knowledge of the nature and effect of materials that are used in pest control.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 4. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. A journeyman’s certificate shall not be issued to any applicant, other than the holder of an apprentice certificate, unless such applicant has had in effect a journeyman’s certificate issued by the director within the previous two calendar years.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. A journeyman’s certificate shall not be issued until the applicant has served as an apprentice under a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter for one year and until the applicant presents to the director satisfactory documentary proof consisting of a declaration or affidavit by the holder of a journeyman’s certificate attesting to the applicant’s performance, under the attesting journeyman’s direct and personal supervision, of not less than 150 hours of operation of fixed-wing aircraft or 50 hours of operation of nonfixed-wing aircraft within the previous two calendar years in pest control activities, together with any other evidence as the director may require.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 624, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1994.)

 

  1. Each applicant for an apprentice certificate shall satisfy the director, through documentary evidence or other suitable information, that the applicant shall conduct pest control activities only under the direct and personal supervision of a person that holds a journeyman’s certificate.

(Added by renumbering Section 11909 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. It is unlawful for the holder of an apprentice certificate to conduct pest control activities unless such activities are conducted under the direct and personal supervision of a person that holds a journeyman’s certificate.

(Added by renumbering Section 11910 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

 

  1. (a) The director may refuse to issue a manned or unmanned pest control aircraft pilot certificate to an applicant and may revoke or suspend a manned or unmanned pest control aircraft pilot certificate after a hearing in which one or more of the following findings are made:

(1) The person is not qualified to conduct the pest control operations in accordance with the certificate.

(2) The application or certificate is for the operation of a manned aircraft in pest control and the person does not hold an appropriate and valid commercial pilot’s certificate and a current appropriate medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(3) The application or certificate is for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in pest control and the person does not hold a certificate or other authorization issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for pest control.

(4) The person has violated any provision of, or any regulation adopted pursuant to, this division or Division 7 (commencing with Section 12501) pertaining to pesticides, any regulation of a county agricultural commissioner, or any industrial safety order of the Department of Industrial Relations, or has not complied with any order of the director or commissioner as authorized by Section 11737.

(5) The person has violated any regulation or privacy guideline adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration pertaining to the commercial operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(b) The director may, pending a hearing, suspend or condition the certificate of any pest control aircraft pilot when, upon an investigation that the director determines to be necessary and upon the receipt of affidavits by the enforcement personnel provided in Section 11501.5 or injured parties, the director finds that continuance of the certificate endangers public welfare or safety. The director may terminate the suspension or condition upon the taking of corrective action that the director determines to be satisfactory to ensure qualification or compliance with the law or regulations. In that event, the matter may proceed to hearing as though that action had not been taken.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 404, Sec. 5. (AB 527) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, if the holder of a certificate is called to active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States of America, the holder, upon the termination of such active duty, is entitled to renewal of such certificate in the same category, if he does all of the following:

(a) Makes application to the director.

(b) Pays the renewal fee required by the director.

(c) Demonstrates to the director his ability to conduct pest control operations and his knowledge of the nature and effect of materials which are used in pest control.

(Added by renumbering Section 11913 by Stats. 1979, Ch. 732.)

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Florida Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2018)

florida-drone-laws

Are you interested in Florida drone laws?

I created this article on Florida drone laws to help you understand the laws before you go fly.

NOTICE: This article on Florida drone laws is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent Florida drone law attorney before operating.

Florida Drone Law Background

The first batch of Florida drone laws were at the state level. Those Florida drone laws were originally aimed at controlling law enforcement’s use of drones. The first state level Florida drone law was following a nationwide trend. Eventually, Florida, and other states,  set their sights on regulating all drones, not just law enforcement.

Not only did the state get in on creating laws, the local counties, cities, towns, etc. all jumped in. It actually became really bad for business because the local Florida drone laws were difficult to find and comply with. Thankfully, the Florida legislature passed some more Florida drone laws that completely eliminated the local Florida drone laws. The new law said, a “political subdivision may not enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution relating to the design, manufacture, testing, maintenance, licensing, registration, certification, or operation of an unmanned aircraft system, including airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements; the purpose of operations; and pilot, operator, or observer qualifications, training, and certification.”

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws (federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

Florida drone laws current as of June 26, 2017

330.41 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act.—

(1) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act.”

(2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, the term:

(a) “Critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs which indicate that entry is forbidden and which are posted on the property in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders:

1. An electrical power generation or transmission facility, substation, switching station, or electrical control center.

2. A chemical or rubber manufacturing or storage facility.

3. A mining facility.

4. A natural gas or compressed gas compressor station, storage facility, or natural gas or compressed gas pipeline.

5. A liquid natural gas or propane gas terminal or storage facility with a capacity of 4,000 gallons or more.

6. Any portion of an aboveground oil or gas pipeline.

7. A wireless communications facility, including the tower, antennae, support structures, and all associated ground- based equipment.

(b) “Drone” has the same meaning as s. 934.50(2).

(c) “Unmanned aircraft system” means a drone and its associated elements, including communication links and the components used to control the drone which are required for the pilot in command to operate the drone safely and efficiently.

(3) REGULATION.—

(a) The authority to regulate the operation of unmanned aircraft systems is vested in the state except as provided in federal regulations, authorizations, or exemptions.

(b) Except as otherwise expressly provided, a political subdivision may not enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution relating to the design, manufacture, testing, maintenance, licensing, registration, certification, or operation of an unmanned aircraft system, including airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements; the purpose of operations; and pilot, operator, or observer qualifications, training, and certification.

(c) This subsection does not limit the authority of a local government to enact or enforce local ordinances relating to nuisances, voyeurism, harassment, reckless endangerment, property damage, or other illegal acts arising from the use of unmanned aircraft systems if such laws or ordinances are not specifically related to the use of an unmanned aircraft system for those illegal acts.

(d) A person or governmental entity seeking to restrict or limit the operation of drones in close proximity to infrastructure or facilities that the person or governmental entity owns or operates must apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for such designation pursuant to section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.

(4) PROTECTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES.—

(a) A person may not knowingly or willfully:

1. Operate a drone over a critical infrastructure facility;

2. Allow a drone to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or

3. Allow a drone to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.

(b) A person who violates paragraph (a) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A person who commits a second or subsequent violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(c) This subsection does not apply to actions identified in paragraph (a) which are committed by:

1. A federal, state, or other governmental entity, or a person under contract or otherwise acting under the direction of a federal, state, or other governmental entity.

2. A law enforcement agency that is in compliance with s. 934.50, or a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction of such law enforcement agency.

3.An owner, operator, or occupant of the critical infrastructure facility, or a person who has prior written consent of such owner, operator, or occupant.

(d) Subparagraph (a)1. does not apply to a drone operating in transit for commercial purposes in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, authorizations, or exemptions.

(e) This subsection shall sunset 60 days after the date that a process pursuant to Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 becomes effective.

(5) CONSTRUCTION.—This section shall be construed in accordance with standards imposed by federal statutes, regulations, and Federal Aviation Administration guidance on unmanned aircraft systems.

330.411 Prohibited possession or operation of unmanned aircraft.—

A person may not possess or operate an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system as defined in s. 330.41 with an attached weapon, firearm, explosive, destructive device, or ammunition as defined in s. 790.001.

State Statute 934.50 Searches and seizure using a drone.—

(1) SHORT TITLE.—

This act may be cited as the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act.”

(2) DEFINITIONS.—

As used in this act, the term:

(a) “Drone” means a powered, aerial vehicle that:

  1. Does not carry a human operator;
  2. Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;
  3. Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely;
  4. Can be expendable or recoverable; and
  5. Can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload.

(b) “Image” means a record of thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves; sound waves; odors; or other physical phenomena which captures conditions existing on or about real property or an individual located on that property.

(c) “Imaging device” means a mechanical, digital, or electronic viewing device; still camera; camcorder; motion picture camera; or any other instrument, equipment, or format capable of recording, storing, or transmitting an image.

(d) “Law enforcement agency” means a lawfully established state or local public agency that is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime, local government code enforcement, and the enforcement of penal, traffic, regulatory, game, or controlled substance laws.

(e) “Surveillance” means:

  1. With respect to an owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of privately owned real property, the observation of such persons with sufficient visual clarity to be able to obtain information about their identity, habits, conduct, movements, or whereabouts; or
  2. With respect to privately owned real property, the observation of such property’s physical improvements with sufficient visual clarity to be able to determine unique identifying features or its occupancy by one or more persons.

(3) PROHIBITED USE OF DRONES.—

(a) A law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather evidence or other information.

(b) A person, a state agency, or a political subdivision as defined in s. 11.45 may not use a drone equipped with an imaging device to record an image of privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image in violation of such person’s reasonable expectation of privacy without his or her written consent. For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on his or her privately owned real property if he or she is not observable by persons located at ground level in a place where they have a legal right to be, regardless of whether he or she is observable from the air with the use of a drone.

(4) EXCEPTIONS.—

This section does not prohibit the use of a drone:

(a) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.

(b) If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone.

(c) If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence, or to achieve purposes including, but not limited to, facilitating the search for a missing person.

(d) By a person or an entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state, or by an agent, employee, or contractor thereof, if the drone is used only to perform reasonable tasks within the scope of practice or activities permitted under such person’s or entity’s license. However, this exception does not apply to a profession in which the licensee’s authorized scope of practice includes obtaining information about the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character of any society, person, or group of persons.

(e) By an employee or a contractor of a property appraiser who uses a drone solely for the purpose of assessing property for ad valorem taxation.

(f) To capture images by or for an electric, water, or natural gas utility:

  1. For operations and maintenance of utility facilities, including facilities used in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity, gas, or water, for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity;
  2. For inspecting utility facilities, including pipelines, to determine construction, repair, maintenance, or replacement needs before, during, and after construction of such facilities;
  3. For assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of maintaining clearances on utility rights-of-way;
  4. For utility routing, siting, and permitting for the purpose of constructing utility facilities or providing utility service; or
  5. For conducting environmental monitoring, as provided by federal, state, or local law, rule, or permit.

(g) For aerial mapping, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

(h) To deliver cargo, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

(i) To capture images necessary for the safe operation or navigation of a drone that is being used for a purpose allowed under federal or Florida law.

(j) By a communications service provider or a contractor for a communications service provider for routing, siting, installation, maintenance, or inspection of facilities used to provide communications services.

(5) REMEDIES FOR VIOLATION.—

(a) An aggrieved party may initiate a civil action against a law enforcement agency to obtain all appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation of this section.

(b) The owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of privately owned real property may initiate a civil action for compensatory damages for violations of this section and may seek injunctive relief to prevent future violations of this section against a person, state agency, or political subdivision that violates paragraph (3)(b). In such action, the prevailing party is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees from the nonprevailing party based on the actual and reasonable time expended by his or her attorney billed at an appropriate hourly rate and, in cases in which the payment of such a fee is contingent on the outcome, without a multiplier, unless the action is tried to verdict, in which case a multiplier of up to twice the actual value of the time expended may be awarded in the discretion of the trial court.

(c) Punitive damages for a violation of paragraph (3)(b) may be sought against a person subject to other requirements and limitations of law, including, but not limited to, part II of chapter 768 and case law.

(d) The remedies provided for a violation of paragraph (3)(b) are cumulative to other existing remedies.

(6) PROHIBITION ON USE OF EVIDENCE.—

Evidence obtained or collected in violation of this act is not admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in any court of law in this state.

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Virginia Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2018)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws (federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of July 28, 2018.

§ 15.2-926.3. Local regulation of certain aircraft.

No locality political subdivision may regulate the use of a privately owned, unmanned aircraft system as defined in § 19.2-60.1 within its boundaries. Nothing in this section shall permit a person to go or enter upon land owned by a political subdivision solely because he is in possession of an unmanned aircraft system if he would not otherwise be permitted entry upon such land.

 

§ 18.2-121.3. Trespass with an unmanned aircraft system; penalty.

A. Any person who knowingly and intentionally causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property of another and come within 50 feet of a dwelling house (i) to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person or (ii) after having been given actual notice to desist, for any other reason, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

 

B.This section shall not apply to any person who causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property as set forth in subsection A if (i) consent is given to the entry by any person with legal authority to consent or by any person who is lawfully present on such property or (ii) such person is authorized by federal regulations to operate an unmanned aircraft system and is operating such system in an otherwise lawful manner and consistent with federal regulations.

 

§ 18.2-324.2. Use of unmanned aircraft system for certain purposes; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person who is required to register pursuant to §9.1-901 to use or operate an unmanned aircraft system to knowingly and intentionally (i) follow or contact another person without permission of such person or (ii) capture the images of another person without permission of such person when such images render the person recognizable by his face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic.

 

B. It is unlawful for a respondent of a protective order issued pursuant to §16.1-279.1 or 19.2-152.10 to knowingly and intentionally use or operate an unmanned aircraft system to follow, contact, or capture images of the petitioner of the protective order or any other individual named in the protective order.

 

C. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

 

§ 19.2-60.1. Use of unmanned aircraft systems by public bodies; search warrant required.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

“Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

“Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including communication links, sensing devices, and the components that control the unmanned aircraft.

 

B. No state or local government department, agency, or instrumentality having jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement or regulatory violations, including but not limited to the Department of State Police, and no department of law enforcement as defined in § 15.2-836of any county, city, or town shall utilize an unmanned aircraft system except during the execution of a search warrant issued pursuant to this chapter or an administrative or inspection warrant issued pursuant to law.

 

C. Notwithstanding the prohibition in this section, an unmanned aircraft system may be deployed without a warrant (i) when an Amber Alert is activated pursuant to § 52-34.3, (ii) when a Senior Alert is activated pursuant to § 52-34.6, (iii) when a Blue Alert is activated pursuant to § 52-34.9, (iv) where use of an unmanned aircraft system is determined to be necessary to alleviate an immediate danger to any person, (v) for training exercises related to such uses, or (vi) if a person with legal authority consents to the warrantless search.

 

D. The warrant requirements of this section shall not apply when such systems are utilized to support the Commonwealth for purposes other than law enforcement, including damage assessment, traffic assessment, flood stage assessment, and wildfire assessment. Nothing herein shall prohibit use of unmanned aircraft systems for private, commercial, or recreational use or solely for research and development purposes by institutions of higher education and other research organizations or institutions.

 

E. Evidence obtained through the utilization of an unmanned aircraft system in violation of this section is not admissible in any criminal or civil proceeding.

 

F. In no case may a weaponized unmanned aircraft system be deployed in the Commonwealth or its use facilitated in the Commonwealth by a state or local government department, agency, or instrumentality or department of law enforcement in the Commonwealth except in operations at the Space Port and Naval/Aegis facilities at Wallops Island.

 

G. Nothing herein shall apply to the Armed Forces of the United States or the Virginia National Guard while utilizing unmanned aircraft systems during training required to maintain readiness for its federal mission or when facilitating training for other U.S. Department of Defense units.

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Singer v. City of Newton-(Case Declaring Local Drone Law Illegal)

Update: The City of Newton appealed it to the circuit court but later asked for the case to be dismissed which the court granted.

The City of Newton, Massachusetts passed a drone ordinance on December 19, 2016. The ordinance requires all drones to be registered, bans drones below 400ft above ground level without property owner permission, and prohibits flights beyond the visual line of sight of the operator.

Dr. Michael Singer, a medical doctor and professor at Harvard, filed suit in the federal district court of Massachusetts. On September 21, 2017, the court ruled that four provisions of the local ordinance were conflict preempted.

To read more drone law cases, go to my Drone Lawsuit/Litigation Database.

Table of Contents:

The Problematic Provisions of Newton’s Drone Ordinance

The City of Newton passed an ordinance which regulated the flight of all unmanned aircraft. The ordinance that passed had multiple provisions but Singer challenged 4 of them. Interesting to note, at the time of this lawsuit, Massachusetts didn’t have an state level drone laws.  I have organized the ordinance provisions below to ease in conceptualization.

1. Registration.
Section (b) of the ordinance says, “Owners of all pilotless aircraft shall register their pilotless aircraft with the City Clerk’s Office, either individually or as a member of a club . . . .”

2. Operational Restrictions.
A. Altitude
Subsection (c)(1)(a) prohibits pilotless aircraft flight below an altitude of 400 feet over any private property without the express permission of the property owner.

Subsection (c)(1)(e) prohibits pilotless aircraft flight over public property, at any altitude, without prior permission from Newton.

B. Beyond Line of Sight of the Operator
Subsection (c)(1)(b) states that no pilotless aircraft may be operated “at a distance beyond the visual line of sight of the Operator.” The Ordinance neither defines the term “Operator,” nor sets an altitude limit.

Brief Discussion on Preemption

Article 6 of the United States Constitution basically stands for where federal and state law interact/conflict, federal law wins. This is called preemption. There are two types of preemption: express and implied preemption. Express is easy to figure out as the law states it clearly. However, with implied preemption, things are more difficult. Courts have to figure what to do, or really what Congress should have said, but didn’t, and now the court has to clean up the mess. There are two types of implied preemption: field and conflict. Field preemption is where courts infer that Congress has regulated the area so much that they did not intend to leave any area of that field available to be regulated by the states. Conflict preemption is where courts imply that Congress did not intend to allow state laws to substantially frustrate the implementation of the federal law.
Dr. Michael Singer filed the lawsuit and alleged the 4 provisions above were field and conflict preempted by federal statutes and federal regulations.

District Court’s Ruling:

The court ruled the local ordinance was conflict preempted. Singer raised 4 issues and the court responded to each them.

1. Registration.

Section (b) of the ordinance says, “Owners of all pilotless aircraft shall register their pilotless aircraft with the City Clerk’s Office, either individually or as a member of a club . . . .”

Court: The City of Newton argued that the Taylor v. FAA case created a void to allow registration however there is no void created by the Taylor case. The FAA intended to be the exclusive register of unmanned aircraft. Therefore, this ordinance is conflict preempted.

2. Operational Restrictions.
A. Altitude

Subsection (c)(1)(a) prohibits pilotless aircraft flight below an altitude of 400 feet over any private property without the express permission of the property owner.

Court: This is conflict preempted because Congress intended the FAA to use airspace to integrate drones. The FAA picked 0-400ft above ground level for non-recreational flyers. This ordinance effectively frustrates Congress’ and FAA’s implementation of the integration of drones into the national airspace from 0-400ft above the ground level.

Subsection (c)(1)(e) prohibits pilotless aircraft flight over public property, at any altitude, without prior permission from Newton.

Court: This is conflict preempted because there is no altitude limit, it goes up into navigable airspace.

B. Beyond Line of Sight of the Operator

Subsection (c)(1)(b) states that no pilotless aircraft may be operated “at a distance beyond the visual line of sight of the Operator.” The Ordinance neither defines the term “Operator,” nor sets an altitude limit.

Court: The Ordinance seeks to regulate the method of operating of drones, necessarily implicating the safe operation of aircraft. Courts have recognized that aviation safety is an area of exclusive federal regulation. The Ordinance limits the methods of piloting a drone beyond that which the FAA has already designated, while also reaching into navigable space. Intervening in the FAA’s careful regulation of aircraft safety cannot stand; thus subsection (c)(1)(b) is preempted.

In short, drone registration, complete drone bans, regulating navigable airspace, or limiting “the methods of piloting a drone beyond that which the FAA has already designated” are conflict preempted.

How Does the Singer v. City of Newton Case Affect Me?

This case is only binding in the jurisdiction of the federal district court of Massachusetts. It only struck down 4 provisions of the ordinance, not all of it.  Courts from other jurisdictions can look at this ruling but do NOT need to follow it. I suspect, however, other courts will likely follow the same rationale and invalidate state and local drone laws on the grounds they are conflict preempted ONLY. They will likely not answer field preemption questions.

Keep in mind that this case can be appealed to the 1st Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine) and ruled upon which would result in more people being affected. I don’t know if it will be appealed.

How Can I Use This Case?

This case is extremely important in giving state and local governments guidance on what not to do. You should send this case to any elected officials who have passed a drone law or who are considering passing a drone law.

Warning to States, Cities, and Local Governments:

Many states, cities, towns, etc. have passed drone laws which would most likely be held by this judge to be conflict preempted. This ruling is only for the jurisdiction of the federal district court of Massachusetts, but other courts around the country can be persuaded by the reasoning in this ruling. In other words, this judge teed up how other courts can easily answer these preemption laws.

This judge ruled that drone registration, complete drone bans, regulating navigable airspace, and limiting “the methods of piloting a drone beyond that which the FAA has already designated” are all conflict preempted.

Problems With This Ruling/Issues Not Addressed:

• The court ruled on the grounds of conflict preemption but did not rule that aviation was field preempted or whether the airspace was expressly preempted.
• United States v. Causby is a U.S. Supreme Court case which raises the idea of a person owning airspace from the ground up to the “immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere.” What if the City of Newton were to create drone laws that applied to Causby airspace over their property or require permission to operate in Causby airspace over private property?
• The judge gave too much deference to the FAA’s guidance document to state and local governments when preemption is primarily focusing on Congress, not an agency’s thoughts, which constantly change, on what it thinks Congress wanted.
• With conflict preemption, the City of Newton can just go back and rework the law and see if Singer files suit again or see if they get struck down again. It would have been more beneficial for the drone industry to have a ruling on whether the airspace was expressly preempted or the field of aviation is field preempted. Instead, the court ruled very narrowly to resolve the case, but leave many issues on the table.
• The court struck down particular provisions which means other states and sub-divisions will just rework their laws to not step on any of the particular “land mines” that the City of Newton stepped on.
• How low does navigable airspace descend for drones? I would argue it goes all the way to the blade of grass because that is where drones take off and land from but the judge seems to indicate navigable airspace is somehow related to 14 CFR 91.119.
• What happens if the state or government does a copy-paste of the FAA regulations or says something along the lines of “You must do whatever the FAA says”?

Actual Text of the Ruling

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS

 

MICHAEL S. SINGER,

Plaintiff,

CITY OF NEWTON,

Defendant.

 

YOUNG, D.J. September 21, 2017

 

FINDINGS OF FACT, RULINGS OF LAW, & ORDER

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

 

The crux of this dispute is whether portions of a certain

ordinance (the “Ordinance”) passed by the City of Newton

(“Newton”) on December 19, 2016 are preempted. First Am. Compl.

Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, ECF No. 12. Michael S.

Singer (“Singer”) challenges portions of the Ordinance which

require that all owners of pilotless aircraft (commonly referred

to as “drones” or “UAS”) register their pilotless aircraft with

Newton, and also prohibit operation of pilotless aircraft out of

the operator’s line of sight or in certain areas without permit

or express permission. Id.; Def. City Newton’s Mem. Law Supp.

Cross Mot. Summ. J. and Opp’n Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 2, Newton

Ordinances § 20-64, ECF No. 40-3.

 

 

In early March, Newton answered Singer’s complaint, Answer

Def. City of Newton First Am. Compl., ECF No. 17, and both

parties appeared before the Court soon after, when they agreed

to cross-file motions for summary judgment and proceed on a case

stated basis,1 Electronic Clerk’s Notes, ECF No. 21. Both

parties subsequently filed motions for summary judgment, Pl.’s

Corrected Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 34; Def. City of Newton’s Cross

Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 39, and fully briefed the issues, Pl.’s

Corrected Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (“Pl.’s Mem.”), ECF No. 35;

Pl.’s Resp. Def.’s Cross-Mot. Summ. J. (“Pl.’s Resp.”), ECF No.

50; Pl.’s Resp. City’s Statement Undisputed Facts (“Pl.’s Resp.

Facts”), ECF No. 51; Def. City Newton’s Mem. Law Supp. Cross

Mot. Summ. J. and Opp’n Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. (“Def.’s Mem.”), ECF

No. 40; Def. City of Newton’s Statement Undisputed Facts Supp.

Cross Mot. Summ. J. and Resps. Pl.’s Statement Undisputed

Material Facts Supp. Mot. Summ. J. (“Def.’s Facts”), ECF No. 41;

1 The case stated procedure allows the Court, with the

parties’ agreement, to render a judgment based on the largely

undisputed record in cases where there are minimal factual

disputes. TLT Constr. Corp. v. RI, Inc., 484 F.3d 130, 135 n.6

(1st Cir. 2007). In its review of the record, “[t]he [C]ourt is

. . . entitled to ‘engage in a certain amount of factfinding,

including the drawing of inferences.’” Id. (quoting United

Paperworkers Int’l Union Local 14 v. International Paper Co., 64

F.3d 28, 31 (1st Cir. 1995)).See also Amici Curiae Br. (“Amicus Br.”), ECF No. 57.2 After

oral argument on June 13, 2017, this Court took the matter under

advisement. Electronic Clerk’s Notes, ECF No. 59.

 

2. FINDINGS OF FACT

Newton is a municipality in the Commonwealth of

Massachusetts and is organized under a charter pursuant to the

Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution. Pl.’s

Resp. Facts ¶ 1; Def.’s Facts ¶ 1. Singer resides in Newton.

Am. Compl. ¶ 22. He is a Federal Aviation Administration

(“FAA”)-certified small unmanned aircraft pilot and owns and

operates multiple drones in Newton. Id. ¶¶ 22, 25. Singer does

not operate or register his drones as a hobbyist. Tr. Case-

Stated Hearing (“Tr.”) 20:15-18, ECF No. 60.

In August 2015, members of Newton’s City Council proposed

discussing the possibility of regulating drones for the

principal purpose of protecting the privacy interests of

Newton’s residents. Pl.’s Resp. Facts ¶ 3; Def.’s Facts ¶ 3.

On March 23, 2016, an initial draft of the Ordinance was

presented for discussion. See Def.’s Mem., Ex. 3, Public Safety

& Transportation Committee Report dated Mar. 23, 2016 1, ECF No.

40-4. Following further inquiry and amendment, see, e.g.,

Def.’s Mem., Ex. 7, Public Safety & Transportation Committee

Report dated May 5, 2016 1, ECF No. 40-8; Def.’s Mem., Ex. 9,

Public Safety & Transportation Committee Report dated Sept. 7,

2016 6-7, ECF No. 40-10, but without FAA approval, Def.’s Mem.,

Ex. 16, Def. City of Newton’s Answers Pl.’s First Set Interrogs.

(“Def.’s Answers Interrogs.”) 3, ECF No. 40-17, Newton’s City

Council approved the final Ordinance on December 19, 2016,

Def.’s Mem., Ex. 12, Public Safety & Transportation Committee

Report dated Dec. 19, 2016 1, ECF No. 40-13.

 

The Ordinance states in part:

Purpose: The use of pilotless aircraft is an increasingly

popular pastime as well as learning tool. It is important

to allow beneficial uses of these devices while also

protecting the privacy of residents throughout the City.

In order to prevent nuisances and other disturbances of the

enjoyment of both public and private space, regulation of

pilotless aircraft is required. The following section is

intended to promote the public safety and welfare of the

City and its residents. In furtherance of its stated

purpose, this section is intended to be read and

interpreted in harmony with all relevant rules and

regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, and any

other federal, state and local laws and regulations.

 

 

Def.’s Mem., Ex. 2, Newton Ordinances § 20-64, ECF No. 40-3.

“Pilotless aircraft” is defined as “an unmanned, powered aerial

vehicle, weighing less than 55 pounds, that is operated without

direct human contact from within or on the aircraft.” Id. § 20-

64(a). In section (b), the Ordinance imposes certain

registration requirements upon owners of all pilotless aircraft.

Id. § 20-64(b). Section (c) sets forth operating prohibitions, including, inter alia, a ban on the use of a pilotless aircraft

below an altitude of 400 feet over private property without the

express permission of the owner of the private property, id.

  • 20-64(c)(1)(a), “beyond the visual line of sight of the

Operator,” id. § 20-64(c)(1)(b), “in a manner that interferes

with any manned aircraft,” id. § 20-64(c)(1)(c), over Newton

city property without prior permission, id. § 20-64(c)(1)(e), or

to conduct surveillance or invade any place where a person has a

reasonable expectation of privacy, id. § 20-64(c)(1)(f)-(g).

Violations of the Ordinance are punishable by a $50 fine

following a one-time warning. Id. § 20-64(f).

 

III. RULINGS OF LAW

Specifically, Singer challenges four subsections of the

Ordinance: the registration requirements of section (b) and the

operation limits of subsections (c)(1)(a), (c)(1)(b), and

(c)(1)(e). Pl.’s Mem 3-4; Pl.’s Resp. i. Singer argues that

the Ordinance is preempted by federal law because it attempts to

regulate an almost exclusively federal area of law, Pl.’s Mem.

6-15, in a way that conflicts with Congress’s purpose, id. at

14-15. In turn, Newton posits that the Ordinance is not

preempted by federal law because it falls within an area of law

that the FAA expressly carved out for local governments to

regulate, Def.’s Mem. 8-10, and thus can be read in harmony with

federal aviation laws and regulations, id. at 10-11.

A. Preemption Standards

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution

provides that federal laws are supreme, U.S. Const. art. VI, cl.

2, thus requiring that federal laws preempt any conflicting

state or local regulations, see Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U.S.

725, 746 (1981) (citing McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 427

(1819)). Under our federalist system, however, a court must be

wary of invalidating laws in areas traditionally left to the

states unless the court is entirely convinced that Congress

intended to override state regulation. See, e.g., Gregory v.

Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, 460 (1991) (citing Atascadero State

Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 243 (1985)). In contrast, if a

state government attempts to regulate an area traditionally

occupied by the federal government, a court need not seek to

avoid preemption. See United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 108

(2000). Neither of these circumstances requires that Congress

explicitly have stated its purpose; “[t]he question, at bottom,

is one of statutory intent.” Morales v. Trans World Airlines,

Inc., 504 U.S. 374, 383 (1992).

 

If Congress has not expressly preempted an area of law,

then a court must determine whether field or conflict preemption

is evident. See French v. Pan Am Express, Inc., 869 F.2d 1, 2

(1st Cir. 1989). Field preemption occurs where federal

regulation is so pervasive and dominant that one can infer

Congressional intent to occupy the field. See Massachusetts

Ass’n of Health Maint. Orgs. v. Ruthardt, 194 F.3d 176, 179 (1st

Cir. 1999) (citing Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S.

218, 230 (1947); French, 869 F.2d at 2). Conflict preemption

arises when compliance with both state and federal regulations

is impossible or if state law obstructs the objectives of the

federal regulation. See Grant’s Dairy – Me., LLC v.

Commissioner of Me. Dept. of Agric., Food & Rural Res., 232 F.3d

8, 15 (1st Cir. 2000) (citing Gade v. National Solid Wastes

Mgmt. Ass’n, 505 U.S. 88, 98 (1992)).

B. The Federal Aviation Administration

Congress has stated that “[t]he United States Government

has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.” 49

U.S.C. § 40103(a)(1). This declaration does not preclude states

or municipalities from passing any valid aviation regulations,

see Braniff Airways v. Nebraska State Bd. of Equalization &

Assessment, 347 U.S. 590, 595 (1954), but courts generally

recognize that Congress extensively controls much of the field,

see, e.g., Chicago & S. Air Lines, Inc. v. Waterman Steamship

Corp., 333 U.S. 103, 105, 107 (1948); United Parcel Serv., Inc.

Flores-Galarza, 318 F.3d 323, 336 (1st Cir. 2003).

Accordingly, where a state’s exercise of police power infringes

upon the federal government’s regulation of aviation, state law

is preempted. See City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal

Inc., 411 U.S. 624, 638-39 (1973).

In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress

directed the FAA to “develop a comprehensive plan to safely

accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems

into the national airspace system,” FAA Modernization and Reform

Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-95 § 332, 126 Stat. 11, 73 (2012)

(codified at 49 U.S.C. § 40101 note), while limiting the FAA

from “promulgat[ing] any rule or regulation regarding a model

aircraft,” id. § 336(a). Under this directive, the FAA

promulgated 14 C.F.R. part 107, which declares that it “applies

to the registration, airman certification, and operation of

civil small unmanned aircraft systems[3] within the United

States.” 14 C.F.R. § 107.1(a). The rule requires, inter alia,

that anyone controlling a small unmanned aircraft system

register with the FAA, id. §§ 91.203, 107.13; and keep the

aircraft within the visual line of sight of the operator or a

designated visual observer, id. §§ 107.3, 107.31, and below an

altitude of 400 feet above ground level or within a 400 foot

radius of a structure, id. § 107.51(b).

 

 

  1. Field Preemption

Singer argues that because the federal government regulates

unmanned aircraft and local aircraft operations, there is

federal intent to occupy the field. Pl.’s Mem. 6-11; Pl.’s

Resp. 3; see also Amicus Br. 7-29. Newton does not challenge

that aviation is a traditionally federal field, but counters

that federal regulations explicitly grant local authorities the

power to co-regulate unmanned aircraft. Def.’s Mem. 8-11.

The FAA has stated:

 

[C]ertain legal aspects concerning small UAS use may be

best addressed at the State or local level. For example,

State law and other legal protections for individual

privacy may provide recourse for a person whose privacy may

be affected through another person’s use of a UAS.

. . . The Fact Sheet also summarizes the Federal

responsibility for ensuring the safety of flight as well as

the safety of people and property on the ground as a result

of the operation of aircraft. Substantial air safety

issues are implicated when State or local governments

attempt to regulate the operation of aircraft in the

national airspace. The Fact Sheet provides examples of

State and local laws affecting UAS for which consultation

with the FAA is recommended and those that are likely to

fall within State and local government authority. For

example, consultation with FAA is recommended when State or

local governments enact operation UAS restrictions on

flight altitude, flight paths; operational bans; or any

regulation of the navigable airspace. The Fact Sheet also

notes that laws traditionally related to State and local

police power — including land use, zoning, privacy,

trespass, and law enforcement operations — generally are

not subject to Federal regulation.

 

81 Fed. Reg. 42063 § (III)(K)(6). Thus, the FAA explicitly

contemplates state or local regulation of pilotless aircraft,

defeating Singer’s argument that the whole field is exclusive to the federal government. The FAA’s guidance, however, does not

go quite as far as Newton argues — rather than an express

carve-out for state and localities to regulate, the guidance

hints that whether parallel regulations are enforceable depends

on the principles of conflict preemption.4

D. Conflict Preemption

Singer argues that the challenged sections of the Ordinance

obstruct federal objectives and directly conflict with federal

regulations. Pl.’s Mem. 11-17. Newton fails to respond

specifically to these arguments, again asserting that the FAA

has granted states and localities the power to co-regulate

pilotless aircraft. Def.’s Mem. 8-11. The Court addresses each

challenged subsection of the Ordinance in turn.

 

  1. Section (b)

Singer argues that section (b) of the Ordinance infringes

upon and impermissibly exceeds the FAA’s exclusive registration

requirements. Pl.’s Mem. 11-15; Pl.’s Resp. 6-7. Section (b)

states: “Owners of all pilotless aircraft shall register their

pilotless aircraft with the City Clerk’s Office, either

individually or as a member of a club . . . .” Newton

Ordinances § 20-64(b). The Ordinance defines “pilotless aircraft” as “an unmanned, powered aerial vehicle, weighing less

than 55 pounds, that is operated without direct human contact

from within or on the aircraft.” Id. § 20-64(a).

The FAA has also implemented mandatory registration of

certain drones. See 14 C.F.R. §§ 48.1-48.205. Although such

registration initially applied both to model and commercial

drones, the FAA may not require registration of model aircraft,

because doing so would directly conflict with the Congressional

mandate in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. See Taylor v.

Huerta, 856 F.3d 1089, 1092, 1094 (D.C. Cir. 2017). Newton

argues that this space creates a void in which the city may

regulate drones. Tr. 9:5-10:1. The FAA, however, explicitly

has indicated its intent to be the exclusive regulatory

authority for registration of pilotless aircraft: “Because

Federal registration is the exclusive means for registering UAS

for purposes of operating an aircraft in navigable airspace, no

state or local government may impose an additional registration

requirement on the operation of UAS in navigable airspace

without first obtaining FAA approval.” Def.’s Mem., Ex. 14,

State and Local Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Fact Sheet5 (“FAA UAS Fact Sheet”) 2, ECF No. 40-15. Newton did

5 Although the FAA UAS Fact Sheet is not a formal rule, it

is the FAA’s interpretation of its own rule, which this Court

accords deference under Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., 325

U.S. 410, 413-14 (1945). not obtain FAA approval before enacting the Ordinance. Def.’s

Answers Interrogs. 3. Further, regardless of whether there is

some space that would allow Newton to require registration of

model drones, here Newton seeks to register all drones, Tr.

10:3-14, without limit as to the at which altitude they operate,

in clear derogation of the FAA’s intended authority.

Accordingly, the Ordinance’s registration requirements are

preempted.

 

  1. Subsections (c)(1)(a) and (c)(1)(e)

Singer argues that subsections (c)(1)(a) and (c)(1)(e)

conflict with FAA-permitted flight, Pl.’s Mem. 11, and restrict

flight within the navigable airspace, id. at 12-14. Subsection

(c)(1)(a) prohibits pilotless aircraft flight below an altitude

of 400 feet over any private property without the express

permission of the property owner. Newton Ordinances § 20-

64(c)(1)(a). Subsection (c)(1)(e) prohibits pilotless aircraft

flight over public property without prior permission from

Newton. Id. § 20-64(c)(1)(e). Notably, subsection (c)(1)(e)

does not limit its reach to any altitude. See id. This alone

is a ground for preemption of the subsection because it

certainly reaches into navigable airspace, see 49 U.S.C.

40102(a)(32); 14 C.F.R. § 91.119. Subsections (c)(1)(a) and

(c)(1)(e) work in tandem, however, to create an essential ban on

drone use within the limits of Newton. Nowhere in the city may an individual operate a drone without first having permission

from the owner of the land below, be that Newton or a private

landowner.

 

The FAA is charged with “prescrib[ing] air traffic

regulations on the flight of aircraft . . . for —

(A) navigating, protecting, and identifying aircraft;

(B) protecting individuals and property on the ground; [and]

(C) using the navigable airspace efficiently.” 49 U.S.C.

40103(b)(2). In 2012, Congress tasked the FAA with

“develop[ing] a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the

integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national

airspace system.” Pub. L. No. 112-95 § 332. In so doing, the

FAA mandated that drone operators keep drones below an altitude

of 400 feet from the ground or a structure. 14 C.F.R.

107.51(b). Newton’s choice to restrict any drone use below

this altitude thus works to eliminate any drone use in the

confines of the city, absent prior permission. This thwarts not

only the FAA’s objectives, but also those of Congress for the

FAA to integrate drones into the national airspace. Although

Congress and the FAA may have contemplated co-regulation of

drones to a certain extent, see 81 Fed. Reg. 42063

  • (III)(K)(6), this hardly permits an interpretation that

essentially constitutes a wholesale ban on drone use in Newton.

Accordingly, subsections (c)(1)(a) and (c)(1)(e) are preempted.

 

  1. Subsection (c)(1)(b)

Singer argues that subsection (c)(1)(b) conflicts with the

FAA’s visual observer rule and related waiver process, which

only the FAA can modify. Pl.’s Mem. 13 (citing 49 U.S.C.

  • 106(f)(2), (g)(1); 14 C.F.R. §§ 107.31, 107.205). Subsection

(c)(1)(b) states that no pilotless aircraft may be operated “at

a distance beyond the visual line of sight of the Operator.”

Newton Ordinances § 20-64(c)(1)(b). The Ordinance neither

defines the term “Operator,” nor sets an altitude limit.

The FAA “requires a delicate balance between safety and

efficiency, and the protection of persons on the ground . . . .

The interdependence of these factors requires a uniform and

exclusive system of federal regulation.” City of Burbank, 411

U.S. at 638-39 (internal citations omitted). The Ordinance

seeks to regulate the method of operating of drones, necessarily

implicating the safe operation of aircraft. Courts have

recognized that aviation safety is an area of exclusive federal

regulation. See, e.g., Goodspeed Airport LLC v. East Haddam

Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Comm’n, 634 F.3d 206, 208 (2d

Cir. 2011) (“Congress has established its intent to occupy the

entire field of air safety, thereby preempting state regulation

of that field.”); US Airways, Inc. v. O’Donnell, 627 F.3d 1318,

1326 (10th Cir. 2010) (“[F]ederal regulation occupies the field

of aviation safety to the exclusion of state regulations.”); Montalvo v. Spirit Airlines, 508 F.3d 464, 470 (9th Cir. 2007)

(“Congress has indicated its intent to occupy the field of

aviation safety.”). The First Circuit, in fact, has ruled “that

Congress intended to occupy the field of pilot regulation

related to air safety.” French, 869 F.2d at 4. In French, the

First Circuit took note of Congress’s delegation of authority to

the FAA to issue the certificate — and the terms for obtaining

it — required for any person to pilot a commercial aircraft.

See id. at 3. Concluding that this grant of authority and the

FAA’s subsequent regulations expressed Congress’s intent to

preempt any state law in the area, id. at 4, the First Circuit

struck down Rhode Island’s statute requiring airline pilots to

submit to drug testing, see id. at 7.

 

The circumstances are not so different here. Congress has

given the FAA the responsibility of regulating the use of

airspace for aircraft navigation and to protect individuals and

property on the ground, 49 U.S.C. § 40103(b)(2), and has

specifically directed the FAA to integrate drones into the

national airspace system, Pub. L. No. 112-95 § 332. In

furtherance of this duty, the FAA has designated specific rules

regarding the visual line of sight for pilotless aircraft

operation. See 14 C.F.R. §§ 107.31-35, 107.205. First, the FAA

requires either that (1) a remote pilot both command and

manipulate the flight controls or (2) a visual observer be able to see the drone throughout its flight. Id. § 107.31. The

regulations define “visual observer” as “a person who is

designated by the remote pilot in command to assist the remote

pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls

of the small UAS to see and avoid other air traffic or objects

aloft or on the ground.” Id. § 107.3. Second, the FAA allows

waiver of the visual observer rule. Id. §§ 107.200, 205.

The Ordinance limits the methods of piloting a drone beyond

that which the FAA has already designated, while also reaching

into navigable space. See Newton Ordinances § 20-64(c)(1)(b).

Intervening in the FAA’s careful regulation of aircraft safety

cannot stand; thus subsection (c)(1)(b) is preempted.

 

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, this Court holds that Ordinance

sections (b), (c)(1)(a), (c)(1)(b), and (c)(1)(e) are preempted

and judgment will enter so declaring. As it is unchallenged,

the remainder of Newton’s Ordinance stands. Of course, nothing

prevents Newton from re-drafting the Ordinance to avoid conflict

preemption.

 

SO ORDERED.

/s/ William G. Young

WILLIAM G. YOUNG

DISTRICT JUDGE

 

Actual Text of Newton’s Ordinance

Sec. 20-64. Pilotless Aircraft Operation.

Purpose: The use of pilotless aircraft is an increasingly popular pastime as well as learning tool. It is important

to allow beneficial uses of these devices while also protecting the privacy of residents throughout the City. In

order to prevent nuisances and other disturbances of the enjoyment of both public and private space, regulation of

pilotless aircraft is required. The following section is intended to promote the public safety and welfare of the City

and its residents. In furtherance of its stated purpose, this section is intended to be read and interpreted in harmony

with all relevant rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, and any other federal, state and

local laws and regulations.

 

(a) Definitions:

Pilotless Aircraft – an unmanned, powered aerial vehicle, weighing less than 55 pounds, that is operated

without direct human contact from within or on the aircraft.

(b) Registration: Owners of all pilotless aircraft shall register their pilotless aircraft with the City Clerk’s Office,

either individually or as a member of a club, as follows:

(1) Individual Registration: Individual owners of pilotless aircraft shall register each pilotless aircraft with the

City Clerk’s office, prior to operation. The cost of registration shall be $10.00 per Owner and such cost of

registration shall include all pilotless aircraft owned by the Owner. Owners must have proof of

registration in their possession when operating a pilotless aircraft. Registration shall include the

following:

  1. a) The owner’s name, address, email address and phone number;
  2. b) The make, model, and serial number, if available, of each pilotless aircraft to be registered;
  3. c) A copy of the Owner’s Federal Aviation Administration Certificate of Registration for pilotless

aircraft;

 

(2) Club Registration: Members of a pilotless aircraft hobby club may register their pilotless aircraft through a

responsible adult member of the Club. Each Club shall be issued a single identifying registration number

by the City Clerk’s Office to be affixed to each pilotless aircraft belonging to members of the Club. The

cost of Club Registration shall be $10 per Club and the cost of registration shall include all members of

that Club. The responsible adult member shall update the Club’s roster of members with the Clerk’s

office on an annual basis. All other requirements of Section 2(a)(i-iii) shall apply to Club registration.

(c) Operating Prohibitions. The use and operation of all pilotless aircraft within the City shall be subject to the

following prohibitions.

(1) No pilotless aircraft shall be operated:

  1. a) over private property at an altitude below 400 feet without the express permission of the owner of said private property;
  2. b) at a distance beyond the visual line of sight of the Operator;
  3. c) in a manner that interferes with any manned aircraft;
  4. d) in a reckless, careless or negligent manner;
  5. e) over any school, school grounds, or other City property or sporting event without prior permission

from the City, unless a permit is required as in Section 4, below;

  1. f) for the purpose of conducting surveillance unless expressly permitted by law or court order;
  2. g) for the purpose of capturing a person’s visual image, audio recording or other physical impression in

any place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy;

  1. h) over any emergency response efforts;
  2. i) with the intent to harass, annoy, or assault a person, or to create or cause a public nuisance;
  3. j) in violation of federal or state law, or any Ordinance of the City of Newton.

(2) The Chief of Police, or designee, may prohibit the use or operation of pilotless aircraft where it is allowed,

or allow the operation of pilotless aircraft where it is prohibited, during an impending or existing

emergency, or when such use or operation would pose a threat to public safety.

(d) Permit May be Required:

 

(1) Individual Permits: A permit may be required to use land maintained by the Parks and Recreation

Department, or by any other Department or Commission of the City, to launch or land a pilotless aircraft.

Such permits may be issued by the Parks and Recreation Department Head, or designee, or the City entity

charged with managing the property, or designee. Individual operators shall adhere to the registration

requirements of Section 2 above.

 

(2) Event Permits: The Parks and Recreation Department, or any Department or Commission charged with

managing land owned by the City, may issue Permits for groups and special events. Such Event Permits

will be issued to a responsible person who will insure that all operators participating in the event adhere to

the requirements of this ordinance, except that individual participants in an event under this subsection are

not required to register in accordance with Section 2.

 

(3) Educational Permits: The Parks and Recreation Department, or any other City agency with authority over

the use and maintenance of City land, may permit the operation of pilotless aircraft for educational

purposes. Educational permits must be issued to a responsible adult, and in conjunction with an

educational purpose sanctioned by an educational organization.

 

(e) Noise Ordinance: All Operators shall comply with the Noise Ordinance at Section 20-13, as amended, at all

times while operating pilotless aircraft within the City.

(f) Penalties: A violation of any section of this Ordinance shall result in a warning for the first offense and shall

be punishable by a fine of $50.00 for each offense thereafter.

(g) Separate Violations: Action taken pursuant to this section shall not bar any separate action by any other City

Department for any other violations.

(h) Severability: If any provision of this section is held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction then

such provision shall be considered severable from the remaining provisions, which shall remain in full force and

effect.

(i) Regulations: The City and its Departments may promulgate rules, regulations and policies for the

implementation of this Ordinance. (Ord. No. A-96, 12-19-16)


Georgia Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2018)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of July 1, 2017

6-1-4 of Official Code of Georgia Annotated

(a)

(1) As used in this Code section, the term ‘unmanned aircraft system’ means a powered, aerial vehicle that:

(A) Does not carry a human operator and is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft;

(B) Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;

(C) Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely; and

(D) Can be expendable or recoverable.

(2) Such term shall not include a satellite.

(b) Any ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state regulating the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems shall be deemed preempted and shall be null, void, and of no force and effect; provided, however, that a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state may:

(1) Enforce any ordinance that was adopted on or before April 1, 2017;

(2) Adopt an ordinance that enforces Federal Aviation Administration restrictions; or

(3) Adopt an ordinance that provides for or prohibits the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property except with respect to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes.

(c) The state, through agency or departmental rules and regulations, may provide for or prohibit the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property.

 

 

The Georgia House passed a resolution (HR 744) to create a committee to look into drones.  The committee issued their report on December 1, 2015.  The report listed out specifically 15 recommendations. While not law, it gives us a “flavor” as to what the Georgia House is thinking.

 

1. Continue to monitor FAA Regulations with regards to registration requirements of hobbyist operators. The committee does not want to duplicate the process or hinder the industry.

2. Form a commission made up of legislators, researchers, industry experts, and others deemed appropriate to help develop policy and encourage industry expansion within the state.

3. Continue to encourage our universities and technical colleges to find ways to get involved by offering classes, certifications, or any other opportunities that may be deemed necessary.

4. Encourage the state and its agencies to use drone technology in areas where it could provide a cost savings or improve safety.

5. Look for opportunities to encourage venture capitalists to help with startups in Georgia.

6. Protect citizen privacy by making it unlawful to video or photograph another person’s property without permission with limited exceptions to this.

7. Prohibit weaponizing a drone. 8. Make it a violation to fly in or around certain locations such as the capitol.

9. Allow local governments to restrict the use of drones on their publically owned land.

10. Make it unlawful to fly around or to interfere with an emergency scene or to interfere with public safety personnel carrying out official duties.

11. Require law enforcement to have a search warrant to use drones in areas to collect evidence where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

12. Require any videos or photos taken of private property by a government entity without evidentiary value to a specific case to be purged.

13. Make it unlawful to take off from or to recover a drone from private or public property without permission.

14. Prohibit use of drones for hunting and fishing or to use a drone to interfere with someone else that is hunting, fishing, or trapping.

15. Prohibit the use of drones within so many feet of a public road without permission.

The Governor of Georgia issued on November 2nd, 2016 an executive order “That a Commission on Unmanned Aircraft Technology appointed by the Governor is hereby created to make state-level recommendations to the Governor consistent with current FAA regulations as well as the State’s business and public safety interests.”

The Governor appointed to the commission:

  • David Vigilante, Legal Senior Vice President, CNN
  • Christopher Davidson, State Archivist/Assistant Vice Chancellor, Georgia Archives, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
  • Jacob Hinton, Partner, Flyover Services LLC
  • Lewis Massey, Partner, Massey, Watson & Hembree LLC
  • Michael Wall, VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Comcast (Georgia)
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Connecticut Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2018)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of July 1, 2017

Public Act No. 17-52

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPALITIES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in this section, “commercial unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft operated remotely by a pilot in command holding a valid remote pilot certificate with a small unmanned aircraft systems rating issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(b) No municipality shall enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, use, transportation or operation of any commercial unmanned aircraft or otherwise regulate the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, use, transportation or operation of such aircraft, except as otherwise authorized by state and federal law, and to the extent they do not conflict with policies and procedures adopted by the Connecticut Airport Authority.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any municipality that is also a water company, as defined in section 25-32a of the general statutes, may enact and enforce ordinances or resolutions that regulate or prohibit the use or operation of private and commercial unmanned aircraft over such municipality’s public water supply and Class I or Class II land, as described in section 25-37c of the general statutes, provided such ordinances or resolutions do not conflict with federal law or policies and procedures adopted by the Connecticut Airport Authority.

Approved June 13, 2017

 

Connecticut General Assembly committee issued a report in 2014 on Drone Use Regulation. It is best to read this report as it details how many Connecticut laws could apply to drones. Keep in mind this was done in 2014 so some laws could have changed.

 

Additionally, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection created a page on remote controlled model aircraft or drones letting them know that their use is “prohibited at Connecticut State Parks, State Forests or other lands under the control of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, unless specifically authorized by the Commissioner in a Special Use License.” The page also mentions that noise, hazards, wildlife disruption regulations could apply.

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Oregon Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2018)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

Oregon Legislature published in February 2017 a brief on the law. 

 

Oregon passed HB 4066, HB 2710, HB 2354, and HB3047. The Oregon Revise Statutes were published in 2015 so many of the updates below are NOT included yet in the 2015 revised statutes. Oregon will be publishing them again in 2017 with the amendments. I attempted to add the amendments from  HB 4066 and HB 3047 into the text below.

Section 164.885

(1) A person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the first degree if the person knowingly:

. . . . .

(4) As used in this section:

(a) “Aircraft” does not include an unmanned aircraft system as defined in ORS 837.300.

(b) “Restricted access area” means an area of a commercial service airport that is:

(A) Designated as restricted in the airport security program approved by the federal Transportation Security Administration; and

(B) Marked at points of entry with signs giving notice that access to the area is restricted

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

Reckless interference with aircraft; penalty. A person commits a Class A violation if the person possesses or controls an unmanned aircraft system and recklessly causes the unmanned aircraft system to:

(1) Direct a laser at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air;

(2) Crash into an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air; or

(3) Prevent the takeoff or landing of an aircraft.

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

Policies and procedures for use of data.

(1) A public body that operates an unmanned aircraft system shall establish policies and procedures for the use, storage, accessing, sharing and retention of data, including but not limited to video and audio recordings, resulting from the operation of the unmanned aircraft system.

(2) The public body shall post the following information on the public body’s website or otherwise make the following information available to the public:

(a) The policies and procedures established under this section.

(b) The text of ORS 192.501.

(3) The policies and procedures established under this section must include:

(a) The length of time data will be retained by the public body.

(b) Specifications for third party storage of data, including handling, security and access to the data by the third party.

(c) A policy on disclosure of data through intergovernmental agreements.

Section 837.300

(1) “Aircraft” has the meaning given that term in ORS 836.005.

(2) “Law enforcement agency” means an agency that employs peace officers, as defined in ORS 133.005, or that prosecutes offenses.

(3) “Public body” has the meaning given that term in ORS 174.109.

(4) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned flying machine, commonly known as a drone, and its associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the machine.

(5) “Warrant” means a warrant issued under ORS 133.525 to 133.703

 

837.310 Restrictions; exceptions. 

(1) Except as otherwise provided in ORS 837.310 to 837.345, a law enforcement agency may not operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) Any image or other information that is acquired through the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency in violation of ORS 837.310 to 837.345, and any evidence derived from that image or information:

(a) Is not admissible in, and may not be disclosed in, a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

(b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed. [2013 c.686 §2; 2015 c.315 §2]

 

837.320 Authorized use upon issuance of warrant; exigent circumstances. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, if:

(a) A warrant is issued authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system; or

(b) The law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime, and exigent circumstances exist that make it unreasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) A warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system must specify the period for which operation of the unmanned aircraft system is authorized. In no event may a warrant provide for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for a period of more than 30 days. Upon motion and good cause shown, a court may renew a warrant after the expiration of the 30-day period. [2013 c.686 §3; 2015 c.315 §3]

 

837.330 Written consent. 

A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of acquiring information about an individual, or about the individual’s property, if the individual has given written consent to the use of an unmanned aircraft system for those purposes. [2013 c.686 §4; 2015 c.315 §4]

837.335 Search and rescue; use in emergencies. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of search and rescue activities, as defined in ORS 404.200.

(2) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of assisting an individual in an emergency if:

(a) The law enforcement agency reasonably believes that there is an imminent threat to the life or safety of the individual, and documents the factual basis for that belief; and

(b) Not more than 48 hours after the emergency operation begins, an official of the law enforcement agency files a sworn statement with the circuit court that describes the nature of the emergency and the need for use of an unmanned aircraft system.

(3) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, during a state of emergency that is declared by the Governor under ORS chapter 401 if:

(a) The unmanned aircraft system is used only for the purposes of preserving public safety, protecting property or conducting surveillance for the assessment and evaluation of environmental or weather related damage, erosion or contamination; and

(b) The unmanned aircraft system is operated only in the geographical area specified in a proclamation pursuant to ORS 401.165 (5). [2013 c.686 §5; 2015 c.315 §5]

 

837.340 Criminal investigations. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of reconstruction of a specific crime scene or accident scene, or similar physical assessment, related to a specific criminal investigation.

(2) The period that a law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system under this section may not exceed five days for the purpose of reconstruction of a specific crime scene, or similar physical assessment, related to a specific criminal investigation.

837.345 Training. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of training in:

(a) The use of unmanned aircraft systems; and

(b) The acquisition of information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) Any image or other information that is acquired through the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under this section, and any evidence derived from that image or information:

(a) Is not admissible in, and may not be disclosed in, a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

(b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

 

837.360 Restrictions; civil penalties; registration; fees; rules. 

(1) A public body may not operate an unmanned aircraft system in the airspace over this state without registering the unmanned aircraft system with the Oregon Department of Aviation.

(2) The Oregon Department of Aviation may impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 against a public body that violates subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Evidence obtained by a public body through the use of an unmanned aircraft system in violation of subsection (1) of this section is not admissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

(4) The Oregon Department of Aviation shall establish a registry of unmanned aircraft systems operated by public bodies and may charge a fee sufficient to reimburse the department for the maintenance of the registry.

(5) The Oregon Department of Aviation shall require the following information for registration of an unmanned aircraft system:

(a) The name of the public body that owns or operates the unmanned aircraft system.

(b) The name and contact information of the individuals who operate the unmanned aircraft system.

(c) Identifying information for the unmanned aircraft system as required by the department by rule.

(6) A public body that registers one or more unmanned aircraft systems under this section shall provide an annual report to the Oregon Department of Aviation that:

(a) Summarizes the frequency of use of the unmanned aircraft systems by the public body

during the preceding calendar year;

(b) Summarizes the purposes for which the unmanned aircraft systems have been used by the public body during the preceding calendar year; and

(c) Indicates how the public can access the policies and procedures established under section 7 of this 2016 Act.

(7) The State Aviation Board may adopt all rules necessary for the registration of unmanned aircraft systems in Oregon that are consistent with federal laws and regulations.

Section 9 of HB4066 said:

(1) Section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act become operative on January 1, 2017.

(2) A public body may take any action before the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section that is necessary to enable the public body to exercise, on and after the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section, all the duties, functions and powers conferred on the public body by section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act.

837.365 Weaponized unmanned aircraft systems. 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of firing a bullet or projectile or otherwise operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015.

(2)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) If the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft system to fire a bullet or projectile or otherwise operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class C felony.
(c) If the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft system to fire a bullet or projectile or otherwise operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015, and the operation of the unmanned aircraft system causes serious physical injury to another person as both terms are defined in ORS 161.015, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B felony.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply if:

(a) The person uses the unmanned aircraft system to release, discharge, propel or eject a nonlethal projectile for purposes other than to injure or kill persons or animals;
(b) The person uses the unmanned aircraft system for nonrecreational purposes in compliance with specific authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration;
(c) The person notifies the Oregon Department of Aviation, the Oregon State Police and any other agency that issues a permit or license for the activity requiring the use of the unmanned aircraft system of the time and location at which the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile at least five days before the person uses the system;
(d) If the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile in an area open to the public, the person provides reasonable notice to the public of the time and location at which the person intends to use the unmanned aircraft system; and
(e) The person maintains a liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1 million that covers injury resulting from use of the unmanned aircraft system.

(4) The notification requirement of subsection (3)(c) of this section does not apply to:

(a) A career school licensed under ORS 345.010 to 345.450;
(b) A community college as defined in ORS 341.005;
(c) An education service district as defined in ORS 334.003;
(d) The Oregon Health and Science University;
(e) A public university listed in ORS 352.002; or
(f) An institution that is exempt from ORS 348.594 to 348.615 under ORS 348.597 (2).

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, a person may not use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile for purposes of crowd management.

837.375 Interference with an unmanned aircraft system; unauthorized control. 

In addition to any other remedies allowed by law, a person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, is liable to the owner of the unmanned aircraft system in an amount of not less than $5,000. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff in an action under this section.

837.380 Owners of real property; Attorney General.

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person who owns or lawfully occupies real property in this state may bring an action against any person or public body that operates an unmanned aircraft system that is flown over the property if:

(a) The operator of the unmanned aircraft system has flown the unmanned aircraft system over the property on at least one previous occasion; and

(b) The person notified the owner or operator of the unmanned aircraft system that the person did not want the unmanned aircraft system flown over the property.

(2) A person may not bring an action under this section if:

(a) The unmanned aircraft system is lawfully in the flight path for landing at an airport, airfield or runway; and

(b) The unmanned aircraft system is in the process of taking off or landing.

(3) A person may not bring an action under this section if the unmanned aircraft system is operated for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration. This subsection does not preclude a person from bringing another civil action, including but not limited to an action for invasion of privacy or an action for invasion of personal privacy under ORS 30.865.

(4) A prevailing plaintiff may recover treble damages for any injury to the person or the property by reason of a trespass by an unmanned aircraft system as described in this section, and may be awarded injunctive relief in the action.

(5) A prevailing plaintiff may recover attorney fees under ORS 20.080 if the amount pleaded in an action under this section is $10,000 or less.

(6) The Attorney General, on behalf of the State of Oregon, may bring an action or claim for relief alleging nuisance or trespass arising from the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in the airspace over this state. A court shall award reasonable attorney fees to the Attorney General if the Attorney General prevails in an action under this section.

837.385 Preemption of local laws regulating unmanned aircraft systems. 

Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly. Except as expressly authorized by state statute, a local government, as defined ORS 174.116, may not enact an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems or otherwise engage in the regulation of the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

837.390 Applicability. 

ORS 837.300 to 837.390 and 837.995 and section 11, chapter 686, Oregon Laws 2013, do not apply to the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313.

837.990 Penalties. 

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and subject to ORS 153.022, a person commits a Class A violation if the person violates any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter.

(2) The offense described in ORS 837.080, prohibited operation of an aircraft, is a Class B misdemeanor.

Undefined Section in Chapter 837.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system over the boundaries of privately owned premises in a manner so as to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly harass or annoy the owner or occupant of the privately owned premises.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under ORS 837.335.

(3)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B violation.

(b) If, at the time of the offense, the person has one prior conviction under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A violation.

(c) If, at the time of the offense, the person has two or more prior convictions under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) If the court imposes a sentence of probation for a violation under paragraph (c) of this subsection, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person may not possess an unmanned aircraft system.

164.885 Endangering aircraft. 

(1) A person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the first degree if the person knowingly:

 (a) Throws an object at, or drops an object upon, an aircraft;

 (b) Discharges a bow and arrow, gun, airgun or firearm at or toward an aircraft;

 (c) Tampers with an aircraft or a part, system, machine or substance used to operate an aircraft in such a manner as to impair the safety, efficiency or operation of an aircraft without the consent of the owner, operator or possessor of the aircraft; or

(d) Places, sets, arms or causes to be discharged a spring gun, trap, explosive device or explosive material with the intent of damaging, destroying or discouraging the operation of an aircraft.

(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, a person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the second degree if the person knowingly possesses a firearm or deadly weapon in a   restricted access area of a commercial service airport that has at least 2 million passenger boardings per calendar year.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply to a person authorized under federal law or an airport security program to possess a firearm or deadly weapon in a restricted access area.

(3) (a) Endangering aircraft in the first degree is a Class C felony.

(b) Endangering aircraft in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

(4) As used in this section, “restricted access area” means an area of a commercial service airport that is:

(a) Designated as restricted in the airport security program approved by the federal Transportation Security Administration; and

(b) Marked at points of entry with signs giving notice that access to the area is restricted.

 

Note: 164.885 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 164 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

Section 837.995 Crimes involving unmanned aircraft systems; penalties. 

(1) A person commits a Class A felony if the person possesses or controls an unmanned aircraft system and intentionally causes, or attempts to cause, the unmanned aircraft system to:

(a) Fire a bullet or other projectile at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air;

(b) Direct a laser at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air; or

(c) Crash into an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air.

(2) A person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, commits a Class C felony.

Section 837.998 Civil penalties. 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the Director of the Oregon Department of Aviation may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $720 for each violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter.

(2) The director may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 for violation of ORS 837.080 or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter to enforce ORS 837.080.

(3) The director shall impose civil penalties under this section in the manner provided in ORS 183.745.

Undefined Section in Chapter 837.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system over the boundaries of privately owned premises in a manner so as to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly harass or annoy the owner or occupant of the privately owned premises.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under ORS 837.335.

(3)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B violation.

(b) If, at the time of the offense, the person has one prior conviction under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A violation.

(c) If, at the time of the offense, the person has two or more prior convictions under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) If the court imposes a sentence of probation for a violation under paragraph (c) of this subsection, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person may not possess an unmanned aircraft system.

Section 163.700.

(1) Except as provided in ORS 163.702, a person commits the crime of invasion of personal privacy in the second degree if:

(a)

(A) For the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person, the person is in a location to observe another person in a state of nudity without the consent of the other person; and

(B) The other person is in a place and circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of personal privacy; or

(b)

(A) The person knowingly makes or records a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording of another person’s intimate area without the consent of the other person; and

(B) The person being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the intimate area.

(2) As used in this section and ORS 163.701:

(a) “Intimate area” means nudity, or undergarments that are being worn by a person and are covered by clothing.

(b) “Makes or records a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Making or recording or employing, authorizing, permitting, compelling or inducing another person to make or record a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording.

(B) Making or recording a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording through the use of an unmanned aircraft system as defined in ORS 837.300, even if the unmanned aircraft system is operated for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(c) “Nudity” means any part of the uncovered or less than opaquely covered:

(A) Genitals;

(B) Pubic area; or

(C) Female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola.

(d) “Places and circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of personal privacy” includes, but is not limited to, a bathroom, dressing room, locker room that includes an enclosed area for dressing or showering, tanning booth and any area where a person undresses in an enclosed space that is not open to public view.

(e) “Public view” means that an area can be readily seen and that a person within the area can be distinguished by normal unaided vision when viewed from a public place as defined in ORS 161.015.

(f) “Reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the intimate area” means that the person intended to protect the intimate area from being seen and has not exposed the intimate area to public view.

(3) Invasion of personal privacy in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

 

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

(1) As used in this section, “critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following facilities, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if marked with a sign conspicuously posted on the property that indicates that entry is forbidden:

(a) A petroleum or alumina refinery;

(b) An electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station or electrical control center;

(c) A chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility;

(d) A water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station;

(e) A natural gas compressor station;

(f) A liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility;

(g) A telecommunications central switching office;

(h) A port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal or other freight transportation facility;

(i) A gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas;

(j) A transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station;

(k) A steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel;

(L) A dam that is classified as a high hazard by the Water Resources Department;

(m) Any portion of an aboveground oil, gas or chemical pipeline that is enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders; or

(n) A correctional facility or law enforcement facility.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a person commits a Class A violation if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(a) Operates an unmanned aircraft system over a critical infrastructure facility at an altitude not higher than 400 feet above ground level; or

(b) Allows an unmanned aircraft system to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility.

(3) This section does not apply to:

(a) The federal government.

(b) A public body.

(c) A law enforcement agency.

(d) A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the federal government, a public body or a law enforcement agency.

(e) An owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility.

(f) A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility.

(g) The owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located.

(h) A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located.

(i) A person operating an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Section 498.128

(1) The State Fish and Wildlife Commission shall adopt rules prohibiting the use of drones for the following purposes related to the pursuit of wildlife:

(a) Angling;

(b) Hunting;

(c) Trapping;

(d) Aiding angling, hunting or trapping through the use of drones to harass, track, locate or scout wildlife; and

(e) Interfering in the acts of a person who is lawfully angling, hunting or trapping.

(2) Rules adopted to carry out the prohibitions provided for in this section may include exemptions for:

(a) Subject to ORS 837.360 [and 837.365], the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the department’s agents and contractors for the use of drones in carrying out the duties of the department; or

(b) The use of drones in a manner otherwise prohibited under this section if the purpose of the use is to benefit wildlife management or habitat or for the protection of property.

(3) Nothing in this section is meant to limit the use of drones by a person who is lawfully engaging in activities authorized under the commercial fishing laws.

(4) As used in this section, “drone” means:

(a) An unmanned flying machine;

(b) An unmanned water-based vehicle; or

(c) Any other vehicle that is able to operate in the air, in or under the water or on land, either remotely or autonomously, and without a human occupant.

Oregon Aviation Regulations Chapter 738

738-080-0010

Purpose and Statutory Authority

To regulate the registration of aircraft and UAS in Oregon:

(1) ORS 184.619 pertaining to rulemaking authority.

(2) ORS 835.035 and 837.005 pertaining to the general public interest, safety, and the development and promotion of aeronautics.

 

738-080-0015

Definitions

(1) “Aircraft” means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of flight in the air. Examples include, but are not limited to, airplane or rotorcraft (helicopter, gyrocopter or autogyro). Aircraft specifically does not mean a one-person motorless glider that is launched from the earth’s surface solely by the operator’s power.

(2) “Commercial Use” means the conduct of aeronautical activity by means of business, concession, operation, or agency in order to provide goods or services to any person for compensation or hire. An activity for compensation or hire is considered a commercial activity regardless of whether the business is for-profit, nonprofit, charitable, or tax-exempt.

(3) “Manned Aircraft” means an aircraft or spacecraft transporting or operated by direct physical contact from a human or humans.

(4) “Model Aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated purely for recreational or hobby purposes without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

(5) “Private use Aircraft” means aircraft operated by citizens, not operated for profit, and not owned or operated by a public agency.

(6) “Public Agency” means government bodies, local government bodies, and special government bodies in the state of Oregon, excluding military or federal government.

(7) “Public Use Aircraft” means aircraft under control of and in operation by a public agency, excluding military or federal government aircraft.

(8) “Recreational Aircraft” means aircraft that is operated purely for recreational or hobby purposes, not operated for profit, and not by a public agency.

(9) “Unmanned Aircraft System” means an unmanned flying machine, commonly known as a drone, used or intended to be used for flight in the air that has no onboard pilot. This includes all classes of airplanes, helicopters, airships, and translational lift aircraft that have no onboard pilot. Unmanned aircraft are understood to include only those aircraft controllable in three axes and therefore, exclude traditional balloons. “Unmanned aircraft system” does not include a model aircraft as defined in section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112–95) as in effect on July 29, 2013.

 

738-080-0020

Exemption from Aircraft and UAS Registration Fee

All Civil Air Patrol aircraft and UAS controlled by the Oregon Wing, and used primarily for search and rescue training exercises or missions, shall be registered in accordance with applicable state statutes with the exception that the annual Oregon aircraft or UAS registration fee will not be required. All aircraft and UAS owned and by the United States Federal Government are exempt from Oregon aircraft registration.

 

738-080-0030

Temporary Exemption from Registration of Manned Aircraft

(1) Aircraft not physically capable of operation or flight may be temporarily exempt from the requirement of annual registration by the Oregon Department of Aviation (Department). “Not physically capable of operation and flight” means any aircraft that is not capable of being operated in forward motion on the ground or in flight.

(a) Eligibility. The need for preventive maintenance or repairs to the aircraft such as flat tires, broken windows or other short term maintenance items that are normally required are not considered adequate justification for an exemption. See Federal Aviation Regulations, PART 43, Appendix A (c) for guidance on “preventive maintenance.”

(b) An aircraft that is grounded merely because it has not had appropriate inspections required by the Federal Aviation Administration is not eligible for exemption.

(c) An aircraft that is under construction, or one that is disassembled waiting reassembly, may be exempt from registration until it is physically capable of operation or flight.

(d) The Director of the Department or the Director’s designee shall make the final determination as to which aircraft may be temporarily exempt from registration.

(2) An aircraft owner who believes an aircraft is not physically capable of operation or flight must submit a signed “Request for Temporary Exemption” statement giving the reasons why it should be temporarily exempt from registration.

(a) The statement must be received by the Department 30 days before the aircraft registration expiration deadline to allow time for the Director of the Department or the Director’s designee to determine the eligibility for exemption from registration.

(b) If the exemption is denied, the aircraft owner will be notified. The owner must then submit the appropriate aircraft registration fee to the Department within 30 days of notification that the exemption is denied.

(c) An aircraft owner may request a review of the Director of the Department or the Director’s designee’s decision after payment of the appropriate registration fee has been submitted. Such review may include an informal discussion with the Director of the Department or the Director’s designee of the aircraft’s status.

(3) A temporary exemption from registration under this rule will be effective for one year from the registration deadline. A new exemption statement must be submitted each year within the time frame specified in paragraph (2) of this rule.

 

738-080-0045

Public Agency Registration of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

(1) All public departments, public agencies, and other public entities in the State of Oregon must register each UAS with the Federal Aviation Administration prior to registration with ODA. Registration with ODA must be completed prior to UAS flight. Fees to register each UAS weighing less than 55lbs shall be $25. Fees to register each UAS weighing 55lbs or more shall be $50. To register public UAS please visit http://www.oregon.gov/aviation or call (503) 378-4880.

(2) Exemptions. The following entity types are exempt from the requirement to register each UAS with ODA, but must adhere to Federal Aviation Administration UAS guidelines prior to UAS flight: publicly supported kindergarten through 12th grade school programs (K-12) and publicly-supported entities that support K-12 schools or after school K-12 programs.

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Colorado Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of June 19, 2017

24-33.5-1228. Colorado firefighting air corps – creation – powers – aircraft acquisitions required – center of excellence – unmanned aircraft systems study and pilot program – Colorado firefighting air corps fund – creation – report – rules.

……..

(2.5)

(c)

(I) IN ADDITION TO PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(b) OF THIS SECTION, UPON RECEIVING SUFFICIENT MONEY IN THE FORM OF GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL CONDUCT A STUDY CONCERNING THE INTEGRATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WITHIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS THAT RELATE TO CERTAIN PUBLIC-SAFETY FUNCTIONS. AT A MINIMUM, THE STUDY MUST:

(A) IDENTIFY THE MOST FEASIBLE AND READILY AVAILABLE WAYS TO INTEGRATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY WITHIN LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS RELATING TO FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION, CRIME SCENE DOCUMENTATION, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCIES INVOLVING SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY LOSS OR POTENTIAL FOR INJURY OR DEATH; AND

(B) FOR EACH APPLICATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS THAT THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IDENTIFIES PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I)(A) OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDE CONSIDERATION OF PRIVACY CONCERNS, COSTS, AND TIMELINESS OF DEPLOYMENT.

(II) NOT LATER THAN ONE MONTH AFTER COMPLETING THE STUDY DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(1) OF THIS SECTION, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL SUBMIT A REPORT DESCRIBING THE RESULTS OF ITS STUDY TO THE WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITEE CREATED IN SECTION 2-3-1602 AND THE HOUSE AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE AND THE SENATE AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND ENERGY COMMITTEE, OR ANY SUCCESSOR COMMITTEES. THE REPORT MUST ADDRESS EACH ITEM DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I) OF THIS SECTION, AS WELL AS THE RESULTS OF THE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM PILOT PROGRAM DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(d) OF THIS SECTION.

(d)

(I) As PART OF THE STUDY DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I) OF THIS SECTION, UPON RECEIVING SUFFICIENT MONEY IN THE FORM OF GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS, ON AND AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL OPERATE AN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM PILOT PROGRAM, REFERRED TO WITHIN THIS SECTION AS THE “PILOT PROGRAM”, TO INTEGRATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WITHIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS THAT RELATE TO CERTAIN PUBLIC-SAFETY FUNCTIONS.

(II) As PART OF THE PILOT PROGRAM, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL DEPLOY AT LEAST ONE TEAM OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS TO A REGION WITHIN THE STATE THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNATED BY THE DIVISION AS A FIRE HAZARD. THE PILOT PROGRAM MUST TRAIN THE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS TO OPERATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS IN VARIOUS CONTEXTS RELATING TO FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION, CRIME SCENE DOCUMENTATION, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCIES INVOLVING SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY LOSS OR POTENTIAL FOR INJURY OR DEATH. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS MAY BE COMPENSATED BY THE CENTER DURING THEIR TRAINING.

(III) IN OPERATING THE PILOT PROGRAM, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL NOT INTERFERE WITH ANY ACTIVE WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION EFFORT UNLESS THE CENTER IS GRANTED PERMISSION TO ASSIST IN SUCH EFFORT BY A SUPERVISING AGENCY WITH THE AUTHORITY TO GRANT SUCH PERMISSION

……….

(3)

(a) The division shall administer the Colorado firefighting air corps fund, which fund is hereby created in the state treasury. The division MAY seek and accept gifts, grants, reimbursements, investments, bond revenues, sales proceeds, commissions for services, sponsorships, advertising fees, licensing fees, profits, or donations from private or public sources for the purposes of this section. The fund consists of all MONEY that may be appropriated to the fund by the general assembly, and all private and public funds received through gifts, grants, reimbursements, investments, bond revenues, sales proceeds, commissions for services, sponsorships, advertising fees, licensing fees, profits, or donations that are transmitted to the state treasurer and credited to the fund. All interest earned from the investment of MONEY in the fund IS credited to the fund. The MONEY in the fund Is continuously appropriated for the purposes indicated in SUBSECTION (3)(c) OF THIS SECTION. Any MONEY not expended at the end of the fiscal year REMAINS in the fund.

(b) The general assembly finds that the implementation of this section does not rely entirely on the receipt of adequate funding through gifts, grants, or donations. Therefore, the division is not subject to the notice requirements specified in section 24-75-1303 (3).

(c) The division shall use the MONEY in the Colorado firefighting air corps fund for the PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (2.5) OF THIS SECTION AND FOR PAYING THE direct and indirect costs of maintaining the Colorado firefighting air corps, including expenses associated with acquisition, retrofitting, labor, equipment, supply, transportation, air, mobilization, repair, maintenance, and demobilization.

Code of Colorado Regulations  406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE 

C. It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.

1. For the purposes of this regulation, drone shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVS).

 

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Texas Drone Laws from Attorney & Pilot (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Researching? I created a page on Drone Laws(federal, state, & international) and another on only US drone laws by state.

 Current as of June 19, 2017

Texas Government Code Chapter 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

Sec. 423.001. DEFINITION. In this chapter, “image” means any capturing of sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions existing on or about real property in this state or an individual located on that property.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.002. NONAPPLICABILITY.

(a) It is lawful to capture an image using an unmanned aircraft in this state:

(1) for the purpose of professional or scholarly research and development or for another academic purpose by a person acting on behalf of an institution of higher education or a private or independent institution of higher education, as those terms are defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, including a person who:

(A) is a professor, employee, or student of the institution; or

(B) is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the institution;

(2) in airspace designated as a test site or range authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace;

(3) as part of an operation, exercise, or mission of any branch of the United States military;

(4) if the image is captured by a satellite for the purposes of mapping;

(5) if the image is captured by or for an electric or natural gas utility:

(A) for operations and maintenance of utility facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity;

(B) for inspecting utility facilities to determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and after construction of such facilities;

(C) for assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements; and

(D) for utility facility routing and siting for the purpose of providing utility service;

(6) with the consent of the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image;

(7) pursuant to a valid search or arrest warrant;

(8) if the image is captured by a law enforcement authority or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement authority:

(A) in immediate pursuit of a person law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to suspect has committed an offense, not including misdemeanors or offenses punishable by a fine only;

(B) for the purpose of documenting a crime scene where an offense, not including misdemeanors or offenses punishable by a fine only, has been committed;

(C) for the purpose of investigating the scene of:

(i) a human fatality;

(ii) a motor vehicle accident causing death or serious bodily injury to a person; or

(iii) any motor vehicle accident on a state highway or federal interstate or highway;

(D) in connection with the search for a missing person;

(E) for the purpose of conducting a high-risk tactical operation that poses a threat to human life; or

(F) of private property that is generally open to the public where the property owner consents to law enforcement public safety responsibilities;

(9) if the image is captured by state or local law enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of:

(A) surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared;

(B) preserving public safety, protecting property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully declared state of emergency; or

(C) conducting routine air quality sampling and monitoring, as provided by state or local law;

(10) at the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of hazardous materials;

(11) for the purpose of fire suppression;

(12) for the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or well-being is in imminent danger;

(13) if the image is captured by a Texas licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image;

(14) of real property or a person on real property that is within 25 miles of the United States border;

(15) from a height no more than eight feet above ground level in a public place, if the image was captured without using any electronic, mechanical, or other means to amplify the image beyond normal human perception;

(16) of public real property or a person on that property;

(17) if the image is captured by the owner or operator of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real property located in this state;

(18) in connection with oil pipeline safety and rig protection;

(19) in connection with port authority surveillance and security;

(20) if the image is captured by a registered professional land surveyor in connection with the practice of professional surveying, as those terms are defined by Section 1071.002, Occupations Code, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image; or

(21) if the image is captured by a professional engineer licensed under Subchapter G, Chapter 1001, Occupations Code, in connection with the practice of engineering, as defined by Section 1001.003, Occupations Code, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image.

(b) This chapter does not apply to the manufacture, assembly, distribution, or sale of an unmanned aircraft.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Amended by: Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 360 (H.B. 2167), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 423.003. OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO CAPTURE IMAGE.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person destroyed the image:

(1) as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of this section; and

(2) without disclosing, displaying, or distributing the image to a third party.

(d) In this section, “intent” has the meaning assigned by Section 6.03, Penal Code.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.004. OFFENSE: POSSESSION, DISCLOSURE, DISPLAY, DISTRIBUTION, OR USE OF IMAGE.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) captures an image in violation of Section 423.003; and

(2) possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses that image.

(b) An offense under this section for the possession of an image is a Class C misdemeanor. An offense under this section for the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) Each image a person possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses in violation of this section is a separate offense.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section for the possession of an image that the person destroyed the image as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of Section 423.003.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section for the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image that the person stopped disclosing, displaying, distributing, or otherwise using the image as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of Section 423.003.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.0045. OFFENSE: OPERATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT OVER CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITY.

(a) In this section:

(1) “Critical infrastructure facility” means:

(A) one of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs that are posted on the property, are reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, and indicate that entry is forbidden:

(i) a petroleum or alumina refinery;

(ii) an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station, or electrical control center;

(iii) a chemical, polymer, or rubber manufacturing facility;

(iv) a water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant, or pump station;

(v) a natural gas compressor station;

(vi) a liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility;

(vii) a telecommunications central switching office or any structure used as part of a system to provide wired or wireless telecommunications services;

(viii) a port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal, or other freight transportation facility;

(ix) a gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment, or fractionation of natural gas;

(x) a transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station;

(xi) a steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel; or

(xii) a dam that is classified as a high hazard by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; or

(xiii) a concentrated animal feeding operation, as defined by Section 26.048, Water Code; or

(B) if enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier obviously designed to exclude intruders:

(i) any portion of an aboveground oil, gas, or chemical pipeline;
(ii) an oil or gas drilling site;
(iii) a group of tanks used to store crude oil, such as a tank battery;
(iv) an oil, gas, or chemical production facility;
(v) an oil or gas wellhead; or
(vi) any oil and gas facility that has an active flare

(2) “Dam” means any barrier, including any appurtenant structures, that is constructed for the purpose of permanently or temporarily impounding water.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(1) operates an unmanned aircraft over a critical infrastructure facility and the unmanned aircraft is not higher than 400 feet above ground level;

(2) allows an unmanned aircraft to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or

(3) allows an unmanned aircraft to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.

(c) This section does not apply to conduct described by Subsection (b) that is committed by:

(1) the federal government, the state, or a governmental entity;

(2) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the federal government, the state, or a governmental entity;

(3) a law enforcement agency;

(4) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement agency;

(5) an owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(6) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of an owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(7) a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(8) the owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located or a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of that property; or

(9) an operator of an unmanned aircraft that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operation is conducted in compliance with:

(A) each applicable Federal Aviation Administration rule, restriction, or exemption; and
(B) all required Federal Aviation Administration authorizations

(d) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1033 (H.B. 1481), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 423.005. ILLEGALLY OR INCIDENTALLY CAPTURED IMAGES NOT SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (b), an image captured in violation of Section 423.003, or an image captured by an unmanned aircraft that was incidental to the lawful capturing of an image:

(1) may not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding;

(2) is not subject to disclosure, inspection, or copying under Chapter 552; and

(3) is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release.

(b) An image described by Subsection (a) may be disclosed and used as evidence to prove a violation of this chapter and is subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for that purpose.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.006. CIVIL ACTION.

(a) An owner or tenant of privately owned real property located in this state may bring against a person who, in violation of Section 423.003, captured an image of the property or the owner or tenant while on the property an action to:

(1) enjoin a violation or imminent violation of Section 423.003 or 423.004;

(2) recover a civil penalty of:

(A) $5,000 for all images captured in a single episode in violation of Section 423.003; or

(B) $10,000 for disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of any images captured in a single episode in violation of Section 423.004; or

(3) recover actual damages if the person who captured the image in violation of Section 423.003 discloses, displays, or distributes the image with malice.

(b) For purposes of recovering the civil penalty or actual damages under Subsection (a), all owners of a parcel of real property are considered to be a single owner and all tenants of a parcel of real property are considered to be a single tenant.

(c) In this section, “malice” has the meaning assigned by Section 41.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

(d) In addition to any civil penalties authorized under this section, the court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.

(e) Venue for an action under this section is governed by Chapter 15, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

(f) An action brought under this section must be commenced within two years from the date the image was:

(1) captured in violation of Section 423.003; or

(2) initially disclosed, displayed, distributed, or otherwise used in violation of Section 423.004.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.007. RULES FOR USE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.

The Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules and guidelines for use of an unmanned aircraft by a law enforcement authority in this state.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.008. REPORTING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.

(a) Not earlier than January 1 and not later than January 15 of each odd-numbered year, each state law enforcement agency and each county or municipal law enforcement agency located in a county or municipality, as applicable, with a population greater than 150,000, that used or operated an unmanned aircraft during the preceding 24 months shall issue a written report to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and each member of the legislature and shall:

(1) retain the report for public viewing; and

(2) post the report on the law enforcement agency’s publicly accessible website, if one exists.

(b) The report must include:

(1) the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used, organized by date, time, location, and the types of incidents and types of justification for the use;

(2) the number of criminal investigations aided by the use of an unmanned aircraft and a description of how the unmanned aircraft aided each investigation;

(3) the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used for a law enforcement operation other than a criminal investigation, the dates and locations of those operations, and a description of how the unmanned aircraft aided each operation;

(4) the type of information collected on an individual, residence, property, or area that was not the subject of a law enforcement operation and the frequency of the collection of this information; and

(5) the total cost of acquiring, maintaining, repairing, and operating or otherwise using each unmanned aircraft for the preceding 24 months.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1390 (H.B. 912), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 423.009. REGULATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION.

(a) In this section:

(1) “Political subdivision” includes a county, a joint board created under Section 22.074, Transportation Code, and a municipality.
(2) “Special event” means a festival, celebration, or other gathering that:

(A) involves:

(i) the reservation and temporary use of all or a portion of a public park, road, or other property of a political subdivision; and
(ii) entertainment, the sale of merchandise, food, or beverages, or mass participation in a sports event; and

(B) requires a significant use or coordination of a political subdivision’s services.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a political subdivision may not adopt or enforce any ordinance, order, or other similar measure regarding the operation of an unmanned aircraft.
(c) A political subdivision may adopt and enforce an ordinance, order, or other similar measure regarding:

(1) the use of an unmanned aircraft during a special event;
(2) the political subdivision’s use of an unmanned aircraft; or
(3) the use of an unmanned aircraft near a facility or infrastructure owned by the political subdivision, if the political subdivision:

(A) applies for and receives authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt the regulation; and
(B) after providing reasonable notice, holds a public hearing on the political subdivision’s intent to apply for the authorization.

(d) An ordinance, order, or other similar measure that violates Subsection (b) is void and unenforceable.

 

 

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