An Act Relating to Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Establishing Statewide Standards, Protecting Privacy, and Ensuring Public Safety
A bill to provide for the operation and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems in this state; to provide for the powers and duties of state and local governmental officers and entities; and to prohibit misconduct related to the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, to promote accountability of operators, and to prescribe penalties.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF [State] ENACT:
Section 1. Title
This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act”.
Section 2. Definitions
(a) “Person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity.
(b) “Political subdivision” means a county, city, village, township, or other political subdivision, public corporation, authority, or district in this state.
(c) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft) that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently.
(d) “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
Section 3. Uniformity of Regulation
(1) The authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft is vested solely in the state.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by statute, a political subdivision shall not enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft or otherwise engage in the regulation of the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) and (2), a subdivision may promulgate rules, regulations, and ordinances for the use of unmanned aircraft systems by the political subdivision within the boundaries of the political subdivision.
(4) This act does not affect federal preemption of state law concerning aviation.
Section 4. Authorization and Licensing
A person that is authorized by federal law to operate unmanned aircraft systems may operate an unmanned aircraft system in this state for any lawful purpose if the unmanned aircraft system is operated in a manner consistent with federal law.
Section 5. Protection of Emergency Responders
(1) An individual shall not operate an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that knowingly and intentionally interferes with the official duties of any of the following:
(a) A police officer;
(b) A firefighter;
(c) A paramedic; or
(d) Search and rescue personnel.
(2) As used in this subsection, “interferes” means that term as defined in [State] penal code [concerning law enforcement interferences], [citations].
(3) An individual who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
Section 6. Protection from Privacy Invasions and Harassment
(1) A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned aircraft system to subject an individual to harassment or stalking. As used in this subsection, “harassment” means that term as defined in [State] penal code, [citations] and “stalking” means that term as defined in [State] penal code, [citations].
(2) A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned aircraft within a distance that, if the person were to be present personally rather than through remote operation of an unmanned aircraft, would be a violation of a restraining order or other judicial order.
(3) A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned aircraft system to capture photographs, video, or audio recordings of an individual in a manner that invades the individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy and that would constitute unlawful surveillance or invasion of privacy as those terms are defined in [State] penal code, [citations].
(4) An individual who is required to register as a sex offender under the [State sex offenders registration act] shall not operate an unmanned aircraft system to knowingly and intentionally follow, contact, or capture images of another individual, if the individual’s sentence in a criminal case would prohibit the individual from following, contacting, or capturing the image of the other individual.
(5) An individual who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
Section 7. Protection of Infrastructure and Facilities
A political subdivision seeking to restrict, or limit the operation of unmanned aircraft in close proximity to facilities or infrastructure that it owns or operates shall apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for such designation pursuant to Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, Public Law No. 114-190. Prior to making an application for designation to the Federal Aviation Administration, the political subdivision shall hold at least one public hearing, on adequate notice to the public, concerning the proposed application.
Section 8. Accountability of UAS Operators
The State Aviation Director is designated to provide input to the Federal Aviation Administration to facilitate the development of consensus standards for remotely identifying operators and owners of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned aircraft, as contemplated by Section 2202 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, Public Law No. 114-190.