Drone Regulation Update

January 29, 2015

Drone CameraSeems like consumer drones are everywhere. Since my blog entry on drones in April 2014, I have personally seen two drones in flight in the Twin Cities. Both instances were at my workplace here at Thomson Reuters, and both drones were piloted by photography enthusiasts. Just recently, a consumer drone crashed on the White House grounds.

Given this activity, here is an update on drone legislation.

From the crop of 2014 bills only the following legislation became law:

Illinois

The Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act was amended by 2014 Ill. Legis. Serv. P.A. 98-831 (S.B. 2937) (WEST). The act added a new section titled “Law enforcement use of private drones”. 725 ILCS 167/40, and amended section 15, by adding paragraph (6) relating to use of a drone during a disaster or public health emergency. 725 ILCS 167/15.

Tennessee

The crimes and offenses statute under the Wildlife Resources title was amended to include use of a drone to conduct video surveillance of person hunting or fishing, without prior approval. T. C. A. § 70-4-302.

Utah

The Government Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Act was adopted. U.C.A. 1953 § 63G-18-101 et seq. The Act “establishes provisions for the appropriate use of an unmanned aerial vehicle”. 2014 Utah Laws Ch. 399 (S.B. 167).

Administrative regulations

Code of Federal Regulations

Thus far, federal regulations pertaining to drones relate to export administration (see 15 C.F.R. § 742.5), the United States Munitions List (see 22 C.F.R. § 121.1), Corps of Engineers danger zones and restricted areas (see 33 C.F.R. § 334.660), and Federal Acquisition Regulations (see 48 C.F.R. Ch. 2, App. F).

Colorado

It is unlawful to “use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.” 2 CCR 406-0:004.

New Mexico

It is unlawful to harass protected wildlife with a drone, use a drone to spot the location of protected species, and to use information gained from drone flight in hunting protected species. N.M. Admin. Code 19.31.10.

Oregon

It is unlawful to hunt within 8 hours of gaining information on the location of game from a drone. OAR 635-065-0735.

2015 proposed legislation. It is still early in the year, but here what has been introduced so far:

Colorado

Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. 2015 Colorado House Bill No. 1115, 2015 Colorado Senate Bill No. 59.

Connecticut

An act to establish a task force to study drones. 2015 Connecticut House Bill No. 5380.

Georgia

Proposal to prohibit the operation of drones in certain areas. 2015 Georgia House Bill No. 44.

Indiana

Proposal to make it a class C misdemeanor to use an unmanned aerial vehicle in hunting wildlife. 2015 Indiana Senate Bill No. 442.

Kentucky

The Citizens’ Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act. 2015 Kentucky House Bill No. 12.

Proposal to prohibit the use of a drone to disrupt lawful hunting, trapping, or fishing. 2015 Kentucky Senate Bill No. 38, 2015 Kentucky Senate Bill No. 56.

Maine

An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Uses. 2015 Maine House Paper No. 24.

Mississippi

The Drone Prohibition Act. 2015 Mississippi House Bill No. 347.

Missouri

Establishes restrictions on the operation of unmanned aircraft. 2015 Missouri House Bill No. 370.

New York

Empire State citizens’ protection from unwarranted surveillance act. 2015 New York Senate Bill No. 411, 2015 New York Assembly Bill No. 1247.

Prohibits the hunting or taking of wildlife with the aid of an unmanned aerial vehicle. 2015 New York Senate Bill No. 1249.

New Hampshire

New proposed chapter which prohibits use of drones to obtain evidence, with exceptions and civil remedies. 2015 New Hampshire House Bill No. 240.

North Dakota

A BILL for an Act to provide for limitations on the use of unmanned aircraft for surveillance. 2015 North Dakota House Bill No. 1328.

Oregon

Proposal to substitute “unmanned aerial system” for “drone” in a number of statute sections. 2015 Oregon House Bill No. 2354, 2015 Oregon Senate Bill No. 393.

Proposal to direct the Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt rules prohibiting the use of drones for hunting or angling. 2015 Oregon House Bill No. 2534.

Vermont

Proposal to only allow law enforcement use of drone if a warrant has been obtained or in certain emergency situations. 2015 Vermont Senate Bill No. 18.

Virginia

Limitations on use of drone aircraft; penalties. 2014 Virginia House Bill No. 2077, 2014 Virginia Senate Bill No. 1301.

Use of unmanned aircraft systems; search warrant required. 2014 Virginia House Bill No. 2125.

Charter; Town of Leesburg; unmanned aerial vehicles; preservation of trees. 2014 Virginia Senate Bill No. 751.

Washington

AN ACT Relating to unmanned aircraft; adding a new chapter to Title 14 RCW; and prescribing penalties. 2015 Washington House Bill No. 1093.