Drone Laws in California
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 6254.31 is added to the Government Code, to read:
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system pursuant to Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or any related record, including, but not limited to, usage logs or logs that identify any person or entity that subsequently obtains or requests records of that system, are public records subject to disclosure.
Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) is added to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read:
TITLE 14. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
(a) A public agency shall not use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, except as provided in this title. This title shall apply to all public and private entities when contracting with a public agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system.
A public agency that uses an unmanned aircraft system, or contracts for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, pursuant to this title shall first provide reasonable notice to the public. Reasonable notice shall, at a minimum, consist of a one-time announcement regarding the agency’s intent to deploy unmanned aircraft system technology and a description of the technology’s capabilities.
(a) (1) (A) Except as permitted by this title, images, footage, or data obtained by a public agency, or any entity contracting with a public agency, pursuant to this title shall not be disseminated to a law enforcement agency unless the law enforcement agency has obtained a warrant for the images, footage, or data based on probable cause pursuant to this code, or the law enforcement agency would not have been required to obtain a warrant to collect the images, footage, or data itself, as specified in Section 14350.
Unless authorized by federal law, a person or entity, including a public agency subject to Section 14350 or a person or entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that contract, shall not equip or arm an unmanned aircraft system with a weapon or other device that may be carried by or launched from an unmanned aircraft system and that is intended to cause bodily injury or death, or damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property.
All unmanned aircraft systems shall be operated so as to minimize the collection of images, footage, or data of persons, places, or things not specified with particularity in the warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system, or, if no warrant was obtained, for purposes unrelated to the justification for the operation.
(a) This title is not intended to conflict with or supersede federal law, including rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration.
For the purposes of this title, the following definitions shall apply:
Except as provided in this title, the surveillance restrictions on electronic devices described in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1 shall apply to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a public agency.
The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which adds Section 6254.31 of the Government Code, imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest: