Drones in the news
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
Texas Government Code 423-002 (2013) - identifies 19 legitimate commercial purposes for UAS operations and prohibits UAS photography and filming of property or persons without prior consent.
On May 29, 2013 the Texas House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) 3035 (download below), which suspends limitations on conference committee jurisdiction.
On September 1, 2013, House Bill (HB) 912 (download below) went into effect, which discusses law enforcement and public protection with respect to use of unmanned aircraft.
HB 912 enumerates 19 lawful uses for unmanned aircraft, including their use in airspace designated as an FAA test site, their use in connection with a valid search warrant and their use in oil pipeline safety and rig protection. The law creates two new crimes, the illegal use of an unmanned aircraft to capture images and the offense of possessing or distributing the image; both offenses are class C misdemeanors. “Image” is defined in the law as any sound wave, thermal, ultraviolet, visible light or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions existing on property or an individual located on the property. Additionally, the measure requires the Department of Public Safety to adopt rules for use of UAS by law enforcement and mandates that law enforcement agencies in communities of over 150,000 people make annual reports on their use.
On May 26, 2013 the Texas Senate passed Senate Resolution (SR) 1084 (download below), addressing legislative procedure needed to enact their new drone law.
On June 14, 2013 the Texas House of Representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 217 (download below).
HCR 217 altered reporting requirements from the original HB 912.
On May 28, 2015 the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 3628 (download below).
HB 3628 permits the creation of rules governing the use of UAS in the Capitol Complex and provides that a violation of those rules is a Class B misdemeanor.
On June 9, 2015 the Texas House Bill (HB) 2167 (download below) became law. It is an act relating to certain images captured by an unmanned aircraft.
HB 2167 permits individuals in certain professions to capture images used in those professions using UAS as long as no individual is identifiable in the image.
On June 19, 2015 the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 1481 (download below), which becomes effective September 1, 2015, and is an act relating to prohibiting the operation of an unmanned aircraft over certain facilities; creating a criminal offense.
HB 1481 makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate UAS over a critical infrastructure facility if the UAS is not more than 400 feet off the ground.
SB 840 - permits telecommunications providers to use UAS to capture images. It also specifies that only law enforcement may use UAS to captures images of real property that is within 25 miles of the U.S. border for border security purposes. The law also allows a UAS to be used to capture images by an insurance company for certain insurance purposes, as long as the operator is authorized by the FAA.
HB 1424 - prohibits UAS operation over correctional and detention facilities. It also prohibits operation over a sports venue except in certain instances. The law defines “sports venue” as a location with a seating capacity of at least 30,000 people and that is used primarily for one or more professional or amateur sports or athletics events. An initial violation is a class B misdemeanor and subsequent violations are class A misdemeanors.
HB 1643 - adds structures used as part of telecommunications services, animal feeding operations, and a number of facilities related to oil and gas to the definition of critical infrastructure as it relates to UAS operation. Prohibits localities from regulating UAS except during special events and when the UAS is used by the locality. The legislation defines “special event.”
Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS
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