Connecticut Seal

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House of Representatives

File No. 770

General Assembly

 

February Session, 2016

(Reprint of File No. 337)

Substitute House Bill No. 5274

 

As Amended by House Amendment

Schedule "A"

Approved by the Legislative Commissioner

April 30, 2016

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF DRONES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective August 1, 2016) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Law enforcement agency" means the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Office of State Capitol Police, the special police forces established pursuant to section 10a-156b of the general statutes, or any municipal police department;

(2) "Law enforcement officer" means any officer, employee or agent of a law enforcement agency, or a special policeman appointed under section 29-18 of the general statutes; and

(3) "Unmanned aerial vehicle" means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of or flight in air that is power-driven and operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the contrivance.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall operate an unmanned aerial vehicle that is equipped with tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent, a deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3 of the general statutes, or an explosive or incendiary device, as defined in section 53-206b of the general statutes.

(c) The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to a law enforcement officer who operates an unmanned aerial vehicle that is equipped with explosive detection, detonation or disposal equipment, provided such officer is authorized by the federal or state government to detect, detonate and dispose of explosives and is engaged in such detection, detonation or disposal.

(d) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a class C felony.

Sec. 2. Subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 54-280 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective August 1, 2016):

(8) "Offense committed with a deadly weapon" or "offense" means: (A) A violation of subsection (c) of section 2-1e, subsection (e) of section 29-28, subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, or (i) of section 29-33, section 29-34, subsection (a) of section 29-35, section 29-36, 29-36k, 29-37a or 29-37e, subsection (c) of section 29-37g, section 29-37j, subsection (b), (c) or (g) of section 53-202, section 53-202b, 53-202c, 53-202j, 53-202k, 53-202l, 53-202aa or 53-206b, subsection (b) of section 53a-8, section 53a-55a, 53a-56a, 53a-60a, 53a-60c, 53a-72b, 53a-92a, 53a-94a, 53a-102a, 53a-103a, 53a-211, 53a-212, 53a-216, 53a-217, 53a-217a, 53a-217b, [or] 53a-217c or section 1 of this act, or a second or subsequent violation of section 53-202g; or (B) a violation of any section of the general statutes which constitutes a felony, as defined in section 53a-25, provided the court makes a finding that, at the time of the offense, the offender used a deadly weapon, or was armed with and threatened the use of or displayed or represented by words or conduct that the offender possessed a deadly weapon;

Sec. 3. Subsection (a) of section 53a-189a of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) A person is guilty of voyeurism when, (1) with malice, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the image of another person (A) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, (B) while such other person is not in plain view, and (C) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, (2) with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person or any other person, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the image of another person (A) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, (B) while such other person is not in plain view, and (C) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, (3) with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person, commits simple trespass, as provided in section 53a-110a, and observes, in other than a casual or cursory manner, another person (A) without the knowledge or consent of such other person, (B) while such other person is inside a dwelling, as defined in section 53a-100, and not in plain view, and (C) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or (4) with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person or any other person, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the genitals, pubic area or buttocks of another person or the undergarments or stockings that clothe the genitals, pubic area or buttocks of another person (A) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, and (B) while such genitals, pubic area, buttocks, undergarments or stockings are not in plain view. For the purposes of this subsection, "not in plain view" includes a view not otherwise obtainable that is made possible through the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle, and "unmanned aerial vehicle" has the same meaning as provided in section 1 of this act.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2016) (a) For the purposes of this section, "unmanned aerial vehicle" means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of or flight in air that is power-driven and operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the contrivance.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall knowingly cause an unmanned aerial vehicle to land upon or take off from the grounds of a correctional institution.

(c) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a class E felony.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Law enforcement agency" means the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Office of State Capitol Police, the special police forces established pursuant to section 10a-156b of the general statutes, or any municipal police department;

(2) "Law enforcement officer" means any officer, employee or agent of a law enforcement agency, or a special policeman appointed under section 29-18 of the general statutes; and

(3) "Unmanned aerial vehicle" means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of or flight in air that is power-driven and operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the contrivance.

(b) A law enforcement officer may operate an unmanned aerial vehicle provided:

(1) A judge of the Superior Court or judge trial referee has issued a warrant in accordance with section 54-33a of the general statutes authorizing the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle;

(2) The individual who will be the subject of the information collected by the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle has given advance written consent to such operation;

(3) The owner of the property that will be the subject of the information collected by the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle has given advance written consent to such operation;

(4) The law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been, is being or will be committed and exigent circumstances exist that make it unreasonable for the law enforcement officer to obtain a warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle;

(5) Such operation is pursuant to training activities conducted by the law enforcement agency while on land owned or leased by the federal or state government and does not occur over an area that is substantially populated; or

(6) Such operation is used to reconstruct or document a specific crime or accident scene.

(c) An individual or a privately owned property shall be considered to be the subject of information collected by the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle if the information allows the identity of the person or the privately owned property to be ascertained or if the law enforcement officer operating the unmanned aerial vehicle acknowledges such individual or such property was the subject of the information.

Sec. 6. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council and the Chief State's Attorney shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public safety and security. Such report shall include their recommendations for administrative policies and legislation necessary to establish requirements for the retention, modification or destruction of information collected by a law enforcement officer by the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle pursuant to (1) a warrant, issued in accordance with section 54-33a of the general statutes, (2) the advance written consent of the individual who will be the subject of the information collected by such operation, (3) the advance written consent of the owner of the property that will be the subject of the information collected by such operation, (4) a determination that probable cause that a criminal offense has been, is being or will be committed and exigent circumstances exist, (5) training activities, and (6) the reconstruction or documentation of a specific crime or accident scene.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

August 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 2

August 1, 2016

54-280(a)(8)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2016

53a-189a(a)

Sec. 4

October 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2018

New section

Sec. 6

from passage

New section

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Correction, Dept.; Judicial Dpt (Probation)

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill creates a new class C felony for the use of weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles, and a new class E felony for launching or landing a drone from a correctional facility, and expands the crime of voyeurism to include provisions related to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. There are currently three offenders incarcerated for violations of statutes related to dropping weapons near correctional facilities and voyeurism.

To the extent that offenders are prosecuted for new or expanded offenses under the bill, potential costs for incarceration or probation supervision in the community, or judicial revenue would result.  On average, it costs the state $7,260 (including benefits) to supervise an inmate in the community as opposed to $61,320 (including benefits) to incarcerate an offender.

The bill authorizes law enforcement officers to use drones in certain circumstances. The Police Officer Training and Standards Council and the Chief State's Attorney shall develop a report regarding guidelines for law enforcement drone operations and records retention by January 1, 2018. These provisions will not result in a fiscal impact.

House Amendment “A” struck the underlying bill and its associated fiscal impact and resulted in the impact described above.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5274 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF DRONES.

SUMMARY:

This bill makes it a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly called drones) that are weaponized, unless otherwise authorized by law. It authorizes certain law enforcement officers to operate weaponized drones in limited circumstances (e.g., during bomb squad operations), and it restricts when they may use non-weaponized drones.

The bill makes it a class E felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to three years, a fine of up to $3,500, or both for anyone to knowingly cause a drone to land or take off from a correctional facility's grounds.

The bill specifies that, for purposes of voyeurism crimes (see BACKGROUND), a victim is “not in plain view” when the view is not otherwise obtainable and it is made possible by operating a drone.

By January 1, 2018, the bill requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), and chief state's attorney to submit a report to the Public Safety and Security Committee with recommendations for administrative policies and legislation necessary to establish requirements for the retention, modification, or destruction of information collected by law enforcement use of drones as allowed by the bill.

*House Amendment “A” eliminates the original bill's (File 337) provisions (1) imposing retention and destruction information on law enforcement and instead requires a study of such requirements, (2) prohibiting municipalities from enacting ordinances that regulate drones, (3) requiring law enforcement agencies to post certain drone information online, (4) allowing state agencies to authorize drone use, and (5) requiring POST to develop a model policy. It also (1) decreases the penalty for the correction facilities provision and punishes landing and taking off rather than passing items, (2) alters circumstances when law enforcement may use drones, (3) extends restrictions on drone use to Capitol Police and special police and the weaponized provision to the Capitol Police, (4) eliminates provisions on using other technology for voyeurism or weaponized drones, and (5) makes other minor changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the report; August 1, 2016 for the weaponized drone provisions; October 1, 2016 for the voyeurism and correctional facilities provisions; and July 1, 2018 for the restrictions on law enforcement use of non-weaponized drones.

1 & 2 — WEAPONIZED DRONES

The bill defines an “unmanned aerial vehicle” as any power-driven contrivance used or designed for navigation or flight and operated remotely from the outside (“drones”).

It creates a new crime, making it a class C felony, unless otherwise provided by law, to operate a drone equipped with tear gas or a similar deleterious agent, a deadly weapon, explosives, or an incendiary device. (Drones so equipped are commonly described as weaponized or armed.) People convicted of this crime must register with the deadly weapon offender registry (see BACKGROUND). Failure to register is a class D felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The bill allows designated law enforcement officers to use drones equipped with explosive detection, detonation, or disposal equipment when authorized by the state or federal government and engaged in detecting, detonating, or disposing of explosives. This provision applies to (1) DESPP-appointed special police officers for state property and (2) officers, employees, or agents of the State Police; municipal police departments; special campus police forces; and State Capitol Police.

3 — VOYEURISM

By law, a person commits voyeurism if, under certain circumstances, he or she, with malice or intent to satisfy his or her sexual desire, knowingly photographs, films, videotapes, or otherwise records a person without his or her consent and while he or she is not in plain view (see BACKGROUND). The bill specifies that a victim, under this law, is “not in plain view” when the view is not otherwise obtainable and is made possible by using a drone.

4 — CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

Under existing law, it is a class D felony for anyone not authorized by law to pass certain prohibited items, including firearms, weapons, dangerous instruments, or explosives in a correctional or humane institution to an inmate he or she knows, whether the inmate is inside or outside the premises.

The bill makes it a class E felony for anyone to knowingly cause a drone to land or take off from the grounds of a correctional facility, except when otherwise provided by law.

5 — DRONE USE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

The bill restricts when law enforcement officers may operate drones. This provision applies to (1) DESPP-appointed special police officers for state property and (2) officers, employees, or agents of the State Police; municipal police departments; special campus police forces; and State Capitol Police.

They may do so only under the following circumstances:

BACKGROUND

Deadly Weapon and Deadly Weapon Offender Registry

By law, a “deadly weapon” is a weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.

By law, DESPP maintains a registry of people convicted, or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, of an offense committed with a deadly weapon. A person must register if he or she (1) violated specified statutes or (2) committed any felony and the court finds that, at the time of the offense, the offender used a deadly weapon or was armed with and threatened to use, displayed, or represented by words or conduct that he or she possessed, a deadly weapon. Offenders must register for five years. The registry information is not a public record and is disclosable only to certain law enforcement and other agencies.

Voyeurism

By law, a person commits the crime of voyeurism when (1) he or she knowingly photographs, films, videotapes, or records the victim's image; (2) he or she acts maliciously or intends to satisfy his or her or another's sexual desire; and (3) the victim is not in plain view, has a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances, and does not know of, or consent to, the conduct.

PA 15-213 expanded the crime of voyeurism in two ways. First, it punishes someone who with intent to arouse or satisfy his or her sexual desire:

Second, it punishes someone who intending to arouse or satisfy his or her or someone else's sexual desire:

By law, voyeurism is either a class D felony or a class C felony depending on the circumstances. A first offense is a class D felony but it a class C felony if the (1) victim is under age 16 or (2) offender has a prior conviction of certain sexual crimes. Any subsequent voyeurism conviction is a class C felony. Additionally, people convicted of the type of voyeurism that involve satisfying a person's sexual desire must, in certain circumstances, register as sex offenders for 10 years or life, depending on his or her prior convictions. Failure to register is a class D felony.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

19

Nay

6

(03/15/2016)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

39

Nay

1

(04/11/2016)

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

0

(04/22/2016)

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