Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS
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Drones in the news

May 2020 - Fever-reading drones just first of a wave of privacy challenges, civil liberties advocates say

Read more here:



Bill History


Where just the name of the bill or resolution is hyperlinked in black that means that it is not yet law!

Note that bills that are now law are changed to blue font


HB 1301


SB 832 - in May 2017 substituted for HB 1027- signed into law 6-23-2017

Personal Delivery Devices

The bill establishes a regulatory framework for personal delivery devices (PDDs), creating definitions and approved operating parameters in ch. 316, F.S., the Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law.

The bill amends s. 316.008, F.S, to authorize PDD operation in the absence of a local prohibition and authorizes local governmental entities to regulate operation of PDDs within county or municipal jurisdictions under certain conditions.

PDDs are treated like pedestrians by the bill and are specifically excluded from the definition of motor vehicles and the attendant registration and insurance requirements in ch. 320, F.S. The bill also amends ss. 324.021(1) and 324.022(2)(a), F.S., to provide that PDDs are not motor vehicles for purposes of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.

The bill requires a person who owns and operates a PDD to maintain an insurance policy, on behalf of himself or herself and his or her agents, that provides general liability coverage of at least $100,000 for damages arising from PDD operation.


The bill also creates s. 330.41, F.S., the “UAS Act.” It preempts local governments from regulating the operation of UAS, but does allow them to enact or enforce local ordinances relating to illegal acts arising from the use of UAS if the ordinances are not specifically related to the use of a drone for the commission of the illegal acts.

The bill protects critical infrastructure facilities, as defined in the bill, by prohibiting any person from knowingly or willfully:

  • Operating a drone over a critical infrastructure facility, unless the drone is in transit for commercial purposes and is in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations;
  • Allowing a drone to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or
  • Allowing 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.

The bill creates exemptions to these prohibitions, including for persons acting under the direction of a government or drones operating in transit for commercial purposes. A first violation of a prohibition is a second degree misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation is a first degree misdemeanor. It is anticipated that the Federal Aviation Administration will adopt a process for seeking a designation as a fixed site facility, and this portion of the bill will sunset 60 days after the effective date of such process.

Section 330.411, F.S., is created by the bill to prohibit a person from possessing or using a weaponized drone.

The bill also amends s. 934.50, F.S., to authorize the use of a drone 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.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2017.



HB 459


HB 7061 - Establishing the Seaport Security Advisory Committee under the direction of the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council; revising the circumstances under which the Department of Transportation is authorized to direct the removal of certain traffic control devices; authorizing the Department of Transportation to prohibit the operation of commercial megacycles on or across any road under its jurisdiction if it determines that such prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety; revising airport zoning regulation requirements; revising the membership of the governing board of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, etc. (NOTE: no mention of UAS in this law)


SB 510

SB 642

On April 25, 2013, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 92, (download below) an act relating to searches and seizures; creating the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act”; defining the terms “drone” and “law enforcement agency”; prohibiting a law enforcement agency from using a drone to gather evidence or other information; providing an exception; authorizing an aggrieved party to initiate a civil action in order to prevent or remedy a violation of the act; prohibiting a law enforcement agency from using in any court of law in this state evidence obtained or collected in violation of the act; providing an effective date. 

SB 92 defines what a drone is and limits their use by law enforcement. Under this legislation, law enforcement may use a drone if they obtain a warrant, there is a terrorist threat, or swift action is needed to prevent loss of life or to search for a missing person. The law also enables someone harmed by an inappropriate use of drones to pursue civil remedies and prevents evidence gathered in violation of this rule from being admitted in any Florida court.


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On May 15, 2015, Senate Bill (SB) 766 (download below) was signed into law. This was an act relating to surveillance by a drone; amending s. 934.50, F.S.; defining terms; prohibiting a person, a state agency, or a political subdivision from using a drone to capture 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 without his or her written consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists; specifying when a reasonable expectation of privacy may be presumed; authorizing the use of a drone by a person or entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state in certain circumstances; authorizing the use of a drone by an employee or contractor of a property appraiser for the purpose of assessing property for ad valorem taxation; authorizing the use of a drone by or on behalf of certain utilities for specified purposes; authorizing the use of a drone for aerial mapping under certain circumstances; authorizing the use of a drone for delivering cargo under certain circumstances; authorizing the use of a drone to capture certain images under certain circumstances; providing that an owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee may initiate a civil action for compensatory damages and may seek injunctive relief against a person, a state agency, or a political subdivision that violates the act; providing for construction; providing for the recovery of attorney fees and punitive damages; specifying that remedies provided by the act are cumulative to other remedies; providing an effective date. 

SB 766 prohibits the use of a drone to capture an image of privately owned property or the owner, tenant, or occupant of such property without consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

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