Drone Regulation Bills on Privacy, Penalties Await Senate Approval

May 4, 2016
Several proposals, which have not reached final passage, brought to the House and Senate would criminalize trespassing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, and establish clear guidelines in privacy laws and surveillance.

Developing technology and pushes for new drone infrastructure have raised questions on privacy to Louisiana lawmakers. 

Several proposals, which have not reached final passage, brought to the House and Senate would criminalize trespassing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, and establish clear guidelines in privacy laws and surveillance.  

Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, unveiled a two-pronged approach to drone regulations. 

One bill, approved by the Senate and awaiting committee hearing, would make it illegal to fly a drone over someone else's property without permission. The second proposal takes the first bill further, and classify that illegal drone trespassing under criminal harassment, stalking, assault or battery definitions.  

"I want to take care of your privacy right, I want you to be able to relax in your backyard and not be harassed anyone, whether it’s a cranky neighbor or somebody down the street,” Claitor told KLFY News.  

Another measure by Sen. Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge, calls to make it illegal for drones to pass law enforcement partitions, like over police tape and the airspace surrounding them. The measure was unanimously approved by Senate and awaits committee hearing.  

Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, proposed an even broader idea that would make using a drone attached with camera to watch, photograph or film people without their consent illegal under Louisiana's invasion of privacy law.  

There was also a proposal, by Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, that would penalize this illegal drone surveillance with a fine of up to $500, a jail sentence up to six month or a combination of both.  

Another lawmaker, Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles, would band drone use near schools, school property or correctional facilities. The bill was approve by the House and awaits Senate committee hearing.