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30May 2019

US Drone Law Updates: Which drone bills should you watch? What passed?

US Drone Law Updates: Which drone bills should you watch? What passed?

The FAA is expected to release remote ID rules this September, many industry experts believe this will be the catalyst to the mass expansion of commercial drone use. In the meantime, the federal government has released new rules for hobby drone pilots which resulted from the Reauthorization Act of 2018. By repealing the Special Rule 336, recreational drones can be regulated and adhere to remote ID requirements.

As the federal government sorts out remote ID and proposes to make it easier for pilots to fly without waivers, many states are adopting drone laws.

Common issues addressed in state drone legislation include:

Drone use by the general public:

- Prohibited use

- Allowed use

- Set criminal charges for misuse


Drone use by law enforcement and first responders:

- Define allowable uses or exceptions to restricted uses

- Establish a policy for data retention

- Protect LE and first responders from liability


We put together three lists of state drone regulations to keep you up-to-date:

- New drone laws by state

- Drone bills to watch by state

- Failed bills by state

New Drone Laws by state: These bills have passed and signed into law.

Georgia Drone Laws

SB6 now Act 67 - Effective July 1, 2019

The new law prohibits the use of unmanned aircraft systems to deliver or attempt to deliver contraband to a place of incarceration. It also prohibits anyone from using drones to photograph any place of incarceration without permission of the warden or superintendent. The law establishes penalties for violations.

This new law seeks to combat the increase of drone incidents near prisons in Georgia. Drone are increasingly being used to deliver contraband to correctional facilities.

Nevada Drone Laws

Nevada Gov. blank signed and approved two bills into law. Both laws deal with unlawful harassment of wildlife by use of UAS.

AB83 - Effective July 1, 2019

This law makes it unlawful for anyone to harass game mammals or game birds through the use of a  manned or unmanned. The law further outlines that is is unlawful to shoot at any any game mammal or game bird with a weapon from a manned or unmanned aircraft. It’s also unlawful to spot or locate game mammals or game birds with any kind of manned or unmanned aircraft to communicate that information, back to a person on the ground to trap or hunt.

SB454 - Effective October 1, 2019

This bill adds provisions to an existing law and includes UAS in unlawful ways to harass and hunt animals. Section 1 makes specifies “a person shall not intentionally kill or aid and abet another  person to kill a bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lion or black bear” through the use of “manned or unmanned aircraft.” Section 2 makes it unlawful to use information from unmanned aircraft for the purpose of hunting game animals. Section 3 makes it unlawful to harass game mammals or game birds with a manned or unmanned aircraft.

Drone Bills to Watch by state: These bills have been introduced or have moved to the next stage of legislation.

Texas Drone Laws

On May 16, 2019, Texas HB2340 was enrolled. This bill seeks to establish an “Unmanned Aircraft Study Group” to help law enforcement and first responders more effectively use drones in response and recovery efforts.

On May 25, 2019, Texas HB3082 was enrolled. This bill relates to investigating and prosecuting the criminal offense of operating an unmanned aircraft over or near certain facilities. Adds “military installations owned or operated by or for the federal government, state, or another government entity” to the definition of “critical infrastructure facility.”

Failed Drone Bills by state: These measures failed before they got out of Legislature either due to lack of support or time.

Florida Drone Laws

Florida had several notable bills that didn’t make it to the governor’s desk. These four bills are related to the use of drones by law enforcement.

FL HB 75: This bill sought to give law enforcement permission to use drones for specific purposes.

FL SB 766: Same as HB 75.

FL HB 1131: This bill would have authorized the use of drone by law enforcement agency to prepare for or monitor safety & security at large-scale event.

FL SB 132: Same as HB 1131.

Check back every month for new drone law updates. Want to learn more about 2019 State drone laws and regulations? Check out our Learning Center for up-to-date information on Federal and State drone laws.

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