Drones; moratorium on use of unmanned aircraft systems by state or local government department, etc. (SB1331)

Introduced By

Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Limitations on use of drone aircraft. Provides that no state agency or organization having jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement or regulatory violations, including but not limited to the Department of State Police nor any department of law enforcement of any city, county or town, shall procure a public unmanned aircraft system (drone aircraft) without the approval of the General Assembly or the local governing body, respectively. The bill requires a warrant for use of such an aircraft. The bill also provides that it is not unlawful for any law-enforcement officer or other public official to operate a public unmanned aircraft system and disclose personal information from such operation if such officer reasonably determines that an emergency situation exists that involves immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person and the situation requires operation of a public unmanned aircraft system before a warrant authorizing such interception can, with due diligence, be obtained and there are grounds upon which such a warrant could be entered to authorize such operation. The bill also provides that it is not unlawful for a public institution of higher education to operate a public unmanned aircraft system solely for research or academic purposes. The bill also contains extensive procedural guarantees against release of personal information and contains reporting requirements by agencies and courts with respect to use of and data collected by such aircraft.

Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

  • 01/18/2013 Presented and ordered printed 13103017D
  • 01/18/2013 Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
  • 01/22/2013 Impact statement from VCSC (SB1331)
  • 02/04/2013 Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (13-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/04/2013 Committee substitute printed 13104796D-S1
  • 02/05/2013 Read second time
  • 02/05/2013 Reading of substitute waived
  • 02/05/2013 Committee substitute agreed to 13104796D-S1
  • 02/05/2013 Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB1331S1
  • 02/05/2013 Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/05/2013 Passed Senate (36-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/11/2013 Placed on Calendar
  • 02/11/2013 Read first time
  • 02/11/2013 Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
  • 02/12/2013 Assigned Courts sub: #1 Criminal
  • 02/13/2013 Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (6-Y 2-N)
  • 02/18/2013 Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (15-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/18/2013 Committee substitute printed 13105257D-H1
  • 02/19/2013 Read second time
  • 02/20/2013 Read third time
  • 02/20/2013 Committee substitute agreed to 13105257D-H1
  • 02/20/2013 Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB1331H1
  • 02/20/2013 Passed House with substitute (88-Y 5-N)
  • 02/20/2013 VOTE: PASSAGE (88-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/21/2013 House substitute agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/21/2013 Title replaced 13105257D-H1
  • 02/21/2013 Impact statement from DPB (SB1331H1)
  • 02/23/2013 Enrolled
  • 02/23/2013 Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB1331ER)
  • 02/23/2013 Signed by President
  • 02/23/2013 Signed by Speaker
  • 02/25/2013 Impact statement from DPB (SB1331ER)
  • 03/21/2013 Governor's recommendation received by Senate
  • 03/21/2013 Governor's substitute printed 13105672D-S2
  • 04/02/2013 Placed on Calendar
  • 04/03/2013 G Approved by Governor-Chapter 796 (effective 7/1/13)
  • 04/03/2013 Senate concurred in Governor's recommendation (36-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/03/2013 House concurred in Governor's recommendation (98-Y 1-N)
  • 04/03/2013 VOTE: ADOPTION (98-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
  • 04/03/2013 G Governor's recommendation adopted
  • 04/03/2013 Reenrolled
  • 04/03/2013 Reenrolled bill text (SB1331ER2)
  • 04/03/2013 Signed by President as reenrolled
  • 04/03/2013 Signed by Speaker as reenrolled
  • 04/03/2013 Enacted, Chapter 796 (effective 7/1/13)
  • 04/03/2013 G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0796)

Comments

ACLU-VA Privacy Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this legislation. Unregulated use of drone technology by state and local government agencies threatens to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment's protection from illegal search and seizure. Unregulated use of drones could turn the Commonwealth into a surveillance state and produce chilling effects on protected First Amendment activities. This bill requires law enforcement to show probable cause and get search warrant before using a drone. The bill also requires approval by a local or state governing body before a law enforcement agency can purchase a drone and permits the public to participate in the debate. Virginia needs reasonable regulation of drones with clear privacy rules and democratic, public oversight to guarantee that our civil liberties are preserved.

ACLU-VA Legislative Agenda, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports this legislation, which places a two year moratorium on the use of drones in Virginia. Unregulated use of drone technology by state and local government agencies threatens to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment's protection from illegal search and seizure. Additionally, without limits, the use of drones could turn the Commonwealth into a surveillance state and produce chilling effects on protected First Amendment activities. A moratorium on the use of drones allows legislators and various stakeholders, including the public, to debate and draft legislation that balances privacy protections and public safety in a reasonable manner.