2015 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representatives Morgan, Banks, Boyd, Carpenter, Chism, Evans (91st), Ladner, Lamar, Rushing, Shirley, Kinkade
AN ACT TO REGULATE USE OF DRONES; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO PROHIBIT ANY PERSON FROM USING A DRONE TO CAPTURE UNAUTHORIZED IMAGES; TO PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS FOR CERTAIN IMAGES THAT ARE CAPTURED; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and hereinafter referred to as the "Drone Prohibition Act."
SECTION 2. For purposes of this act, the following words shall have the meaning ascribed herein unless the context shall otherwise require:
(a) "Image" means any capturing of sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions existing on or about real property in this state or an individual located on that property; and
(b) "Drone" means any unmanned airborne device that is operated without an individual in or on the device.
SECTION 3. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to capture an image using a drone, as defined by this act.
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to:
(a) Any person who is conducting professional or scholarly research and development and acting on behalf of an institution of higher learning, if such person is a professor, employee, or student of the institution; or under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction of or on behalf of the institution;
(b) Any unmanned airborne device that is in airspace designated as a test site or range authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace;
(c) Any unmanned airborne device that is used as part of an operation, exercise, or mission of any branch of the United States military;
(d) Any image that is captured by a satellite for the purposes of mapping;
(e) Any image captured by or for an electric or natural gas utility:
(i) For operations and maintenance of utility facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity;
(ii) For inspecting utility facilities to determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and after construction of such facilities;
(f) For assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of
maintaining clearances on utility easements;
(g) For utility facility routing and siting for the purpose of providing utility service;
(h) With the consent of the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image;
(i) By authorized law enforcement officers for law enforcement purposes;
(j) If the image is captured by state or local law enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of:
(i) Surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared;
(ii) Preserving public safety, protecting property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully declared state of emergency; or
(iii) Conducting routine air quality sampling and monitoring, as provided by state or local law;
(k) At the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of hazardous materials;
(l) For the purpose of fire suppression;
(m) For the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or well-being is in imminent danger;
(n) If the image is captured by a Mississippi licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image;
(o) Of public real property or a person on that property;
(p) If the image is captured by the owner or operator of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real property located in this state;
(q) In connection with oil and gas pipeline and well safety and protection;
(r) In connection with port authority surveillance and security; or
(s) An image captured by a state or local government agency, or by a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of such agency, and shall not be used for any purpose other than the lawful purpose for which the image was captured as permitted by this section.
SECTION 4. Any person violating the provisions of this act shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both. Each image captured in violation of this act shall be a separate offense. The amount of the fine for any subsequent violation of this act shall be no less than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1500.00). The time for imprisonment for any subsequent violation of this act shall be at least twelve (12) months in the State Penitentiary.
SECTION 5. The provisions of this act shall apply unless preempted by applicable federal law or by regulations adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2015.