Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 639

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Bill No. 7260

House of Representatives, April 18, 2017

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE AND REGULATION OF DRONES.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Law enforcement officer" means (A) a special policeman appointed under section 29-18 of the general statutes, or (B) an officer, employee or agent of (i) the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, (ii) a special police force established pursuant to section 10a-156b of the general statutes, or (iii) a municipal police department; and

(2) "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, except a law enforcement officer performing his or her duties, shall operate or use any computer software or other technology, including, but not limited to, an unmanned aerial vehicle, that allows such person, when not physically present, to release tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent or to remotely control 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) Any person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be guilty of a class C felony.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) A person is guilty of reckless endangerment with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the first degree when, with extreme indifference to human life, such person recklessly collides an unmanned aerial vehicle into an aircraft or a motor vehicle, creating a risk of serious physical injury to another person. For purposes of this section, "recklessly" and "serious physical injury" have the same meanings as provided in section 53a-3 of the general statutes, "unmanned aerial vehicle" has the same meaning as provided in section 1 of this act, "aircraft" has the same meaning as provided in section 15-34 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and "motor vehicle" means a passenger or commercial motor vehicle or a motorcycle, as defined in section 14-1 of the general statutes, and includes construction equipment, agricultural tractors and farm implements.

(b) Reckless endangerment with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) A person is guilty of reckless endangerment with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the second degree when such person recklessly collides an unmanned aerial vehicle into an aircraft or a motor vehicle, which creates a risk of physical injury to another person. For purposes of this section, "recklessly" and "physical injury" have the same meanings as provided in section 53a-3 of the general statutes, "unmanned aerial vehicle" has the same meaning as provided in section 1 of this act, "aircraft" has the same meaning as provided in section 15-34 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and "motor vehicle" means a passenger or commercial motor vehicle or a motorcycle, as defined in section 14-1 of the general statutes, and includes construction equipment, agricultural tractors and farm implements.

(b) Reckless endangerment with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 4. Subdivision (5) of section 15-34 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(5) "Aircraft" means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of or flight in air, including (A) airplanes, meaning power-driven fixed-wing aircraft, heavier than air, supported by the dynamic reaction of the air against their wings, (B) gliders, meaning heavier than air aircraft, the free flight of which does not depend principally upon a power-generating unit, and (C) rotorcraft, meaning power-driven aircraft, heavier than air, supported during flight by one or more rotors. "Aircraft" does not include an unmanned aerial vehicle, as defined in section 1 of this act.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 53a-189a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(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 purposes of this subsection, "not in plain view" includes a view not otherwise obtainable that is made possible through the use of (i) technology that is electronic, as defined in section 1-331, or (ii) an unmanned aerial vehicle, as defined in section 1 of this act.

Sec. 6. Subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 54-280 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(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. 7. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Unmanned aerial vehicle" means unmanned aerial vehicle, as defined in section 1 of this act;

(2) "Law enforcement officer" means law enforcement officer, as defined in section 1 of this act; and

(3) "Law enforcement agency" means the special police appointed under section 29-18 of the general statutes, the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the special police forces established pursuant to section 10a-156b of the general statutes, or any municipal police department.

(b) (1) No law enforcement officer shall operate an unmanned aerial vehicle, except under one or more of the following circumstances:

(A) 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;

(B) 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;

(C) 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;

(D) 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;

(E) The operation is pursuant to training activities conducted by the law enforcement officer while on property owned or leased by the United States, this state or a municipality and does not occur in an area that is substantially populated; or

(F) The operation is used to reconstruct or document a specific crime or accident scene.

(2) The provisions of this subsection do not apply to (A) any property owned or leased by the federal or state or a municipal government, including, but not limited to, a public park, sidewalk or street, or (B) an individual on such property described in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision.

(c) An individual or 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 individual or the privately owned property to be ascertained or if the law enforcement officer operating the unmanned aerial vehicle acknowledges that such individual or such property was the subject of the information.

(d) Information that was collected through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle that concerns an individual or privately owned property that was the subject of a warrant may be retained pursuant to the warrant.

(e) Information that was collected through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle pursuant to advance written consent under subparagraph (B) or (C) of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section may be retained pursuant to the terms specified in such advance written consent.

(f) (1) Information that was collected through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle pursuant to subparagraph (D), (E) or (F) of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section that concerns an individual or privately owned property shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency that collected the information not later than ninety days from the date of collection. The collected information shall be destroyed or modified pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection or retained pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection.

(2) If such information allows the identity of an individual or privately owned property to be ascertained and there is no probable cause to believe that an offense was committed by the individual or on the property, such law enforcement agency (A) shall destroy such information not later than forty-eight hours after such review, or (B) shall permanently modify such information so that the identity of such individual or such property cannot be ascertained, and, after such modification, may retain the modified information for a period of not more than five years from the date of collection and, after such retention, shall destroy the modified information.

(3) If such information allows the identity of an individual or privately owned property to be ascertained and there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed by the individual or on the property, such law enforcement agency may retain such information for a period of not more than five years from the date of collection and, after such retention, shall destroy such information, except that, if a warrant is issued in accordance with section 54-33a of the general statutes based in part on such information, such information may be retained pursuant to the warrant.

(4) No information that was retained in violation of subdivision (2) or (3) of this subsection shall be admitted into evidence or otherwise considered by any court or agency, body or committee of this state or any municipality.

(g) (1) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council shall develop and promulgate a model policy that provides guidelines on the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle by a law enforcement officer, including a weaponized unmanned aerial vehicle, and the destruction, modification and retention of information collected by such operation. Upon completion of such model policy, the council shall report such policy, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary and public safety.

(2) Each law enforcement agency that possesses for operation an unmanned aerial vehicle or authorizes a law enforcement officer to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle shall adopt and maintain a written policy that meets or exceeds the model policy developed by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and that includes a process for categorizing the types of such operations, before taking possession of such unmanned aerial vehicle or not later than thirty days after a law enforcement officer operates an unmanned aerial vehicle.

(h) Not later than January thirty-first of each year, each law enforcement agency that operated an unmanned aerial vehicle in the preceding calendar year shall prepare a report that includes, but need not be limited to: (1) The number of times the law enforcement agency operated an unmanned aerial vehicle in the preceding calendar year, (2) the type of such operation as categorized in the policy adopted pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of this section, (3) whether the unmanned aerial vehicle was operated pursuant to a warrant, and (4) the number of times the type of information collected through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle provided reasonable and articulable suspicion that a criminal offense was being committed. The law enforcement agency shall make such report available on the law enforcement agency's Internet web site or the Internet web site of the municipality served by the law enforcement agency.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2017

15-34(5)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2017

53a-189a(a)

Sec. 6

October 1, 2017

54-280(a)(8)

Sec. 7

October 1, 2017

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(b), a reference to Section 7 was deleted for accuracy; in Section 1(c), a subsection reference was amended; in Section 7, the proviso in Subsec. (b)(1)(B) was rewritten as Subsec. (b)(2) for accuracy and clarity; the Subdivs. of Subsec. (b) were redesignated as Subparas. with corresponding changes to internal references; and in Section 7(g), the language regarding categorization was added to conform with the language in Subsec. (h).

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

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 18 $

FY 19 $

Correction, Dept.; Judicial Dept. (Probation)

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Gain

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill creates new offenses involving usage of drones and expands other crimes to specify drone usage and results in a potential cost for violations as well as potential revenue from fines. To the extent that offenders are prosecuted for expanded offenses under this 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 requires the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) to create uniform regulations concerning the use of drones. There is no fiscal impact due to POST having the capacity within their normal scope of duties to create such a policy. There is also no fiscal impact from the adoption and compliance of such regulations by municipal police departments, to the extent that these policies do not explicitly require them to incur costs.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the number of violations.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7260

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE AND REGULATION OF DRONES.

SUMMARY

This bill criminalizes the operation or use of unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly called drones) that are weaponized, except by law enforcement officers in certain circumstances while performing their duties. The bill makes operating a weaponized drone a class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both; and violators must register with the deadly weapon offender registry (see BACKGROUND) ( 1 & 6).

The bill also:

1 — 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 or use any computer software or other technology, including a drone, to (1) release tear gas or a similar deleterious agent or (2) remotely control 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 while performing their duties, as described below (see LAW ENFORCEMENT USE OF DRONES).

2 & 3 — RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT WITH A DRONE

Under the bill, a person is guilty of reckless endangerment with a drone:

For these purposes, motor vehicles include passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, construction equipment, tractors, and farm implements.

By law, a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison, up to a $2,000 fine, or both. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in prison, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.

7 — LAW ENFORCEMENT USE OF DRONES

The bill limits the circumstances in which law enforcement officers may operate drones, including weaponized drones, and retain the information collected by such operation. For these purposes, law enforcement officers include: (1) Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (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. The bill specifies that these provisions do not apply to (1) government-owned or -leased property including public parks, sidewalks, or streets or (2) individuals on such property.

Drone Use With A Warrant or Written Consent

The bill permits a law enforcement officer to operate a drone only if:

A person or private property is considered to be the subject of information collected by the drone's operation if the (1) information allows the person or property to be identified or (2) officer operating the drone acknowledges the person or property was the subject of the information.

Under the above circumstances, information collected through the drone's operation may be retained pursuant to the (1) warrant or (2) terms specified in the consent.

Drone Use in Exigent Circumstances or for Training or Crime Reconstruction

The bill also permits a law enforcement officer to operate a drone only if the:

The bill requires the law enforcement agency that collected information in those circumstances to review the information within 90 days of its collection and then take certain actions depending on whether or not there is probable cause to believe an offense was committed.

If the reviewed information allows the person or property to be identified and there is no probable cause to believe that an offense was committed, the law enforcement agency must either (1) destroy the information within 48 hours of the review or (2) permanently modify the information so that the individual or property can no longer be identified. The law enforcement agency may retain the modified information for up to five years after it was collected and then must destroy it.

If the reviewed information allows the person or property to be identified and there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, the law enforcement agency may retain the information for up to five years after it was collected and then must destroy it. But if a warrant was issued in part on the information, it may be retained pursuant to the warrant.

The bill prohibits any information that was not destroyed, modified, or retained as required above to be admitted into evidence or otherwise considered by any state or local court, agency, body, or committee.

7 — POLICIES AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

POST

By January 1, 2018, the bill requires POST to develop and promulgate a model policy that provides guidelines on (1) drone operation by law enforcement officers, including weaponized drones, and (2) the destruction, modification, and retention of information collected by the operation. Upon completion, POST must report the policy to the Judiciary and Public Safety committees.

Law Enforcement

Under the bill, law enforcement agencies that possess a drone or authorize a law enforcement officer to operate a drone must adopt and maintain written policies that meet or exceed the policy POST develops (1) before taking possession of the drone or (2) within 30 days of an officer operating the drone. The policies must include a process for categorizing the types of drone operations.

By January 31st each year, the bill also requires each law enforcement agency that operated a drone in the preceding calendar year to prepare a report that includes:

The law enforcement agency must make the report available on its website and the website of the municipality it serves.

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 (CGS 53a-3).

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 personnel and other agencies (CGS 54-280 et seq.).

Voyeurism

By law, a person commits the crime of voyeurism when he or she:

By law, voyeurism is either a class D or 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, a person convicted of the type of voyeurism that involves satisfying a person's sexual desire must, in certain circumstances, register as a sex offender for 10 years or life, depending on his or her prior convictions. Failure to register is a class D felony (CGS 53a-189a).

Reckless Action and Serious Physical Injury

By law, a person acts “recklessly” when he or she is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregarding it constitutes a gross deviation from a reasonable person's standard of conduct in the situation (CGS 53a-3(13)).

By law, a “serious physical injury” is a physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious (1) disfigurement, (2) health impairment, or (3) loss or impairment of bodily organ function (CGS 53a-3(4)).

Related Bill

SB 975 (File 415), reported favorably by the Planning and Development Committee, prohibits municipalities from regulating drones.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

34

Nay

7

(03/29/2017)

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