Status of Domestic Drone Legislation in the States

Final update to this chart 1/22/14. Status of 2014 legislation is available here.

We’re currently seeing an unprecedented surge of activity in state legislatures across the country aimed at regulating domestic surveillance drones. (My colleagues Jay Stanley and Catherine Crump have this recent piece detailing the trend.)  Working closely with our lobbyists in state capitols around the country, we have been tracking this activity and working hard to make sure these privacy-protective bills become law. The chart below shows the current status of state legislation as we understand it. We will update this as we receive new information.

With the exceptions noted below, almost all of the bills we’re seeing require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in an investigation.  If you see your state listed below (unless you live in Arizona), call your legislators and urge them to support privacy-protective drones legislation.

(See here for an analysis of the content of drone legislation throughout the nation.)

Legislation proposed in 43 states and enacted in 9 states

(Update: The 2013 state legislative sessions have drawn to a close. This chart represents a snapshot of the 2013 state legislative action on drones. Many of the bills listed below have been 'carried over' into 2014, and the work to legislate privacy protections for law enforcement use of drones continues. Stay tuned.)

State

Status

Notes

Alabama Passed Senate committee; legislature adjourned without further action  
Alaska Resolution adopted creating drone task force; legislature adjourned without further action Task force is to recommend drone policies and legislation
Arizona Passed House; legislature adjourned without further action  
Arkansas Legislature adjourned without taking up proposed legislation  
California Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Florida Legislation enacted, goes into effect July 1, 2013.  
Georgia Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action Resolutions honoring the aerospace/drones industry also passed in both houses.
Hawaii Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Idaho Legislation enacted, goes into effect July 1, 2013  
Illinois Legislation enacted, goes into effect Jan. 1 2014  
Indiana “Study group” resolution passed Senate committee; bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Iowa Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Kansas Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Kentucky Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action, but interim study hearing on drones held Aug. 21.  
Maine Passed both chambers, VETOED by governor  
Maryland Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Massachusetts Introduced  
Michigan Introduced  
Minnesota Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Missouri Passed House; legislature adjourned without further action  
Montana Legislation enacted, goes into effect Oct. 1, 2013  
Nebraska Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Nevada Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
New Hampshire Dead for this year Passed House committee; tabled in House.
New Jersey Passed Senate; passed committee in Assembly Pocket vetoed (governor did not sign the bill before the deadline)
New Mexico Died in committee  
New York Introduced  
North Carolina Two-year moratorium enacted (PDF, p. 41).  
North Dakota Dead for this year Passed House, defeated in Senate.
Ohio Introduced  
Oklahoma Dead for this year Bill held over until next session; interim study hearing on drone privacy issues to be held Sept. 26
Oregon Legislation enacted  
Pennsylvania Introduced  
Rhode Island Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
South Carolina Passed House Committee; legislature adjourned without further action  
Tennessee Legislation enacted, goes into effect July 1  
Texas Legislation enacted, goes into effect Sept. 1  
Vermont Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Virginia Legislation enacted, goes into effect July 1, 2013.  
Washington Not brought up for full House vote before deadline, so dead for this session.  
West Virginia Bill introduced; legislature adjourned without further action  
Wisconsin Introduced Legislature adjourned but legislation will carry over into 2014.
Wyoming Died in committee  

 

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Anonymous

There is a new company called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, LLC in Oregon.

www.DomesticDroneCountermeasures.com

Anonymous

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssoOASanKao

Published Feb 2013

Emmy-winning journalist, Shad Olson, explores the controversy over U.S. drone policy, both at home and abroad.

While technological sky supremacy gives America strategic superiority on the battlefield, the prospect of drone proliferation over U.S. cities is causing concern about loss of privacy, an end to Habeas Corpus and judicial due process and the destruction of Constitutional rights.

South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune and former U.S. Senate candidate, Sam Kephart share their views about the consequences of domestic drone deployment in the fight against terrorism.

Originally aired on KNBN-TV, (NBC) NewsCenter1, Rapid City, South Dakota in February 2013.

richardei40@hot...

If the police are using drones more power to them Its a heck of a lot cheaper to use a drone to help apprehend a criminal then getting a police helicopter in the air from miles away to help in search and apprehend action also UAVs can also be an important tool for search and rescue operations in a natural disaaster such as looking for trapped motorists aftera blizzard, flood or tornado et al. or a missing child or elder. The most of the public should not worry cause they re doing nothing wrong, but if doing something illegal, as growing marijuana or doing other illegal actions more power to law enforcement. Case and point, say you have several people illegally entering our country in the desert southwest. Several get lost and are in danger of dying in the heat. The only way to find these people and get them to emergency lifesaving treatment could be a drone that your organization is trying to outlaw. would you rather find them dead, or gotton rescued if this was their only option?

Anonymous

Drones for finding lost people is one thing. Drones for purportedly finding "illegal" activity is a civil rights issue. Constant surveillance should never be allowed. George Orwell warns against it in our books, and part of that is how much it was practiced in concentration camps in WW II. Remember, WW II camps everyone was monitored by a "number" that was stamped on their arm. It is not too far fetched to believe they will one day be able to scan the surroundings for people who have ID cards with remote sensing scanning cards in their wallets that monitor the movement of people. Allowing drones close enough to the ground to monitor people means they are doing surveillance without a subpoena, or will be able to before long. This should not be allowed to happen. Please send everyone a petition to get this stopped!

Alfred Twyman

If we allow things like this to pass through it will hold as a precedent allowing more dangerous items to come through. Scientist, Engineers and Weapons Experts will continue to produce more intelligent systems until we no longer have to do the thinking for them.....it is in their nature to continually create and better the latest design. Soon a machine will be the decision maker between right and wrong....a machine will be the law. Man should always be the governor over man...in any situation.....forever

Anonymous

"The most of the public should not worry cause they re doing nothing wrong, but if doing something illegal, as growing marijuana or doing other illegal actions more power to law enforcement."

Translates to...

"If you've got nothing to hide, why do you care?"

This is entirely the wrong attitude and precisely the driving force behind the slow erosion of civil rights over the past few decades. It's hard to argue against because at first thought it seems logically sound, but in reality it flies in the face of why we even have civil rights at all.

Surveillance for emergency response is one thing, but drones on patrol looking for crime where there is no precedent or otherwise no probable cause is a huge invasion of privacy. Do you understand what thermal imaging is? Are you comfortable with people peering through the walls of your home, regardless of how upstanding a citizen you may be?

Big thanks for the ACLU for keeping close tabs on this issue, thanks a lot for being one of the few organizations to stand up to invasion of privacy in the name of security(or should I say security theater).

Anonymous

All people need to fear drones from all sources, say like TMZ taking pictures of stars on vacation. Not just corrupt cops.

Apersonwhocares

The problem is cops are not the only ones who will have drones spying on citizens, but TMZ will be snapping pics of stars on vacation and companies, including other nations, will be doing industrial spying with them. It is not only people who may be doing illegal things that need to be worried about drones, but all of us because there will always be bad intending drone owners as well as good intending programs that go corrupt and think they are above the law in their need to control and punish citizens without due process. And there are always a lot of bad cops out there as well. No I dont agree that drones will only be used for good and by good cops and you only have to fear them if you are doing something illegal. That would be crazy to think that every one has good drone intentions in this day and age. No I do not agree that I need to allow drones to watch me, just to make sure. No I do not agree that low level cops and their interns can play "military command and control" with US citizens in the cross hairs and under their thumb of fear. I do not want to live in fear of drones killing me by mistake or targeted by corrupt cops in the U.S. I am a citizen and I have the right to question this without being call a criminal. for doing so.

Anonymous

richardei40@hotmail wake up, marijuana is legal in two states now and soon to be more. Cops are not going to be able to use this one too much longer as reasons to buy and deploy drones. So milk the sound bite while you can, times are changing dude. Pot is the least of our worries right now and no excuse to deploy military dones to contol the public.

Anonymous

Anonymous writes: It is not too far fetched to believe they will one day be able to scan the surroundings for people who have ID cards with remote sensing scanning cards in their wallets that monitor the movement of people.

That day is already here. You've done it to yourself. No card necessary - just that cell phone on your person is all that's needed.

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