Free Future

Status of Domestic Drone Legislation in the States

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 12:21pm

Updated 1/22/14

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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