So far in 2014, 35 states have considered UAS or UAV (also commonly called drones) bills and resolutions. Four states - Indiana, Tennesse, Utah and Wisconsin - have enacted new laws.
State UAS Legislation
Indiana is the first state to enact a UAS law in 2014. HB 1009 creates warrant requirements and exceptions for the police use of unmanned aircraft and real time geo-location tracking devices. It also prohibits law enforcement from compelling individuals to reveal passwords for electronic devices without a warrant. If law enforcement obtains information from an electronic service provider pursuant to a warrant, the provider is immune from criminal or civil liability. The law provides that if police seek a warrant to compel information from media entities and personnel, then those individuals must be notified and given the opportunity to be heard by the court concerning issuance of the warrant. The new law also creates the crime of "Unlawful Photography and Surveillance on Private Property," making it a Class A misdemeanor. This crime is committed by a person who knowingly and intentionally electronically surveys the private property of another without permission. The law also requests that the state's legislative council study digital privacy during the 2014 interim.
Tennessee enacted SB 1777, making it a class C misdemeanor for any private entity to use a drone to conduct video surveillance of person who is hunting or fishing without their consent.
Utah enacted SB 167, regulating the use of UAS by state government entities. A warrant is now required for a law enforcement agency to “obtain, receive or use data” derived from the use of UAS. The law also establishes standards for when it is acceptable for an individual or other non-governmental entity to submit data to law enforcement. The new law provides standards for law enforcement’s collection, use, storage, deletion and maintenance of data. If a law enforcement agency uses UAS, the measure requires that agency submit an annual report on their use to the Department of Public Safety and also to publish the report on the individual agency’s website. The new law notes that it is not intended to “prohibit or impede the public and private research, development or manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Wisconsin enacted SB 196, regulating law enforcement’s use of drones and creating two new crimes; “possession of a weaponized drone” and “use of a drone.”