As the legislative season for most states winds to a close, Texas, Tennessee and Illinois passed new state legislation aimed at restricting the use of unmanned aircraft (‘drones’) within their respective states.
On May 28th, the Texas State Legislature passed and sent to the Governor House Bill 912 which makes it an offense to use an unmanned aircraft to capture the image of an individual or privately owned real property with “the intent to conduct surveillance”. The bill also makes it unlawful to possess or distribute an image that was captured in violation of this law. Once signed by the Governor, the new law goes into effect September 1, 2013.
On May 20th, Governor Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act”. This new law defines the term ‘Drone’ and prohibits law enforcement agencies within the state from using drones to gather evidence or other information except under explicit circumstances specified in the law. Tennessee’s Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act goes into effect July 1, 2013.
The Illinois General Assembly passed two separate bills relating to the use of ‘drones’. House Bill 1652 changes the state’s Fish and Aquatic Life Code by making it illegal to use a ‘drone’ in a “way that interferes with another person’s lawful taking of wildlife or aquatic life”. And similar to Tennessee’s ‘drone’ legislation, except as specified in the law, Illinois’ “Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act” (SB1587) prohibits law enforcement from using drones to gather information.
AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs