Do you live in a state with enacted or pending drone legislation? Odds are yes, according to a map from the National Conference of State Legislatures that outlines the states that have drone-restricting legislation.
Forty-three states have introduced 115 bills over the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — or drones. Thirteen bills have been enacted in 11 states, with resolutions being adopting in 14 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Photo: From the National Conference of State Legislature, as of August 2013.
In April, Virginia became the first state to draw up legislation to restrict free-flying drones. According to their legislation, drones can be used for Amber Alerts and purposes laid out by the National Guard.
Idaho, Illinois, Oregon and Montana all require a warrant for drone usage.
Florida requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to use a drone. The state allows drones for emergency situations, such as a terrorist threats, Amber Alerts, or to prevent a loss of life. Like Florida, Tennessee requires a search warrant for drones, but allows them for emergency situations.
Texas’ legislation outlines that drone usage is usually restricted to those who have obtained a search warrant. But the Lone Star state also says that drones may be used in oil pipeline safety and for academic research.
All other states currently have no law restricting drone usage.
Drones have caused concern on both sides of the aisle. At a March Senate hearing, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said, “I am convinced that the domestic use of drones to conduct surveillance and collect other information will have a broad and significant impact on the everyday lives of millions of Americans.”
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said at the same Senate hearing that “the day-to-day conduct of American citizens going about their business might be monitored, cataloged and recorded by the federal government” due to the increased use of drones.
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Federal Aviation Industry Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 said “up to 30,000 drones” are expected by 2020.