Amended in Assembly April 22, 2015

Amended in Assembly April 8, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 56


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk

(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Campos)

December 2, 2014


An act to add Section 6254.31 to the Government Code, and to add Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) to Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to unmanned aircraft systems.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 56, as amended, Quirk. Unmanned aircraft systems.

Existing federal law, the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, provides for the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, into the national airspace system by September 30, 2015. Existing federal law requires the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement operational and certification requirements for the operation of public unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system by December 31, 2015.

This bill would generally prohibit public agencies from using unmanned aircraft systems, or contracting for the use of unmanned aircraft systems, as defined, with certain exceptions applicable to law enforcement agenciesbegin insert, subject to approval by the legislative body having management and control of the law enforcement agency and other specified conditions,end insert and in certain other cases, including when the use or operation of the unmanned aircraft system achieves the core mission of the agency and the purpose is unrelated to the gathering of criminal intelligence, as defined.

The bill would require reasonable public notice to be provided by public agencies intending to deploy unmanned aircraft systems, as specified.begin delete The bill would require reasonable public notice, or a set of guidelines, to be made available to the public by law enforcement agencies intending to deploy unmanned aircraft systems, as specified.end deletebegin insert The bill would require a local legislative body that considers approving the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency to provide an opportunity for public comment before granting approval, and to specify the circumstances under which an unmanned aircraft system may be used and the time limits applicable to each circumstance.end insert The bill would require images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system under these provisions to be permanently destroyed within one year, except as specified. The bill would generally prohibit images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system under these provisions from being disseminated outside the collecting public agency, except as specified. Unless authorized by federal law, the bill would prohibit a person or entity, including a public agency subject to these provisions, or a person or entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that contract, from equipping or arming an unmanned aircraft system with a weapon or other device that may be carried bybegin delete or launched fromend deletebegin insert, or launched or directed from,end insert an unmanned aircraft system and that is intended to causebegin insert incapacitation,end insert bodily injury or death, or damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property. The bill would also provide that specified surveillance restrictions on electronic devices apply to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a public agency.

The bill would make its provisions applicable to all public and private entities when contracting with a public agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system.

Existing law, the California Public Records Act, requires state and local agencies to make public records available for inspection, subject to certain exceptions.

This bill would make certain images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system under its provisions, 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, subject to disclosure. The bill would except from the disclosure requirements discussed above images, footage, data, and records obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system if disclosure would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation, or would endanger the successful completion of the investigation.

Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest.

This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.

Because this bill would require local entities to comply with additional rules and requirements regarding the use of information obtained from unmanned aircraft systems, it would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P3    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 6254.31 is added to the Government
2Code
, to read:

3

6254.31.  

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter,
4images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned
5aircraft system pursuant to Title 14 (commencing with Section
614350) of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or any related record, including,
7but not limited to, usage logs or logs that identify any person or
8entity that subsequently obtains or requests records of that system,
9are public records subject to disclosure.

10(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), nothing in this chapter or
11any other law requires the disclosure of images, footage, or data
12obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system, or any
13related record, including, but not limited to, usage logs or logs that
14identify any person or entity that subsequently obtains or requests
15records of that system, to the extent that disclosure of the images,
P4    1footage, data, or records would endanger the safety of a person
2involved in an investigation, or would endanger the successful
3completion of the investigation.

4

SEC. 2.  

Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) is added
5to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read:

6 

7Title 14.  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

8

 

9

14350.  

(a) A public agency shall not use an unmanned aircraft
10system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system,
11except as provided in this title. This title shall apply to all public
12and private entities when contracting with a public agency for the
13use of an unmanned aircraft system.

14(b) A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft
15systembegin delete over public lands, highways, and spaces open to the public
16without a warrant.end delete
begin insert if the law enforcement agency complies with
17all of the following:end insert

begin insert

18(1) Protections against unreasonable searches guaranteed by
19the United States Constitution and the California Constitution.

end insert
begin insert

20(2) Federal law applicable to the use of an unmanned aircraft
21system by an agency, including, but not limited to, regulations of
22the Federal Aviation Administration.

end insert
begin insert

23(3) State law applicable to any agency’s use of surveillance
24technology that can be attached to an unmanned aircraft system,
25including, but not limited to, Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section
26630) of Title 15 of Part 1.

end insert
begin insert

27(4) The law enforcement agency shall obtain prior approval
28from the legislative body having management and control of the
29 agency.

end insert
begin insert

30(5) If the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a local law
31enforcement agency may involve the systematic collection of images
32from an adjacent county, city, or city and county, the law
33enforcement agency shall obtain approval from the local legislative
34body of that county, city, or city and county.

end insert
begin insert

35(6) The agency shall develop and make available to the public
36a policy on the use of an unmanned aircraft system and shall train
37the law enforcement agency’s officers and employees on the policy,
38prior to the use of the unmanned aircraft system.

end insert
begin insert

39(c) (1) A local legislative body that considers approving the
40use of an unmanned aircraft system for use by a law enforcement
P5    1agency to gather information pursuant to this section shall provide
2an opportunity for public comment at a regularly scheduled public
3meeting of the body before granting approval.

end insert
begin insert

4(2) The approval granted by a local legislative body pursuant
5to this section shall specify, at a minimum, the circumstances under
6which an unmanned aircraft system may be used and the time
7limits applicable to each circumstance.

end insert
begin delete

8 8(c)

end delete

9begin insert(d)end insert A law enforcement agencybegin delete mayend deletebegin insert shall notend insert use an unmanned
10aircraft systembegin delete under 400 feet above ground level over private
11property if it has obtained consent from the property owner or a
12warrant based on probable cause pursuant to this code.end delete
begin insert to surveil
13private property unless the law enforcement agency complies with
14subdivision (b) and has obtained either of the following:end insert

begin insert

15(1) A search warrant based on probable cause.

end insert
begin insert

16(2) The express permission of the person or entity with the legal
17authority to grant access to the specific private property to be
18subjected to surveillance.

end insert
begin delete

19(d) A law enforcement agency, without consent from the
20property owner or obtaining a warrant, may use an unmanned
21aircraft system in all of the following circumstances over private
22property:

end delete
begin insert

23(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (d), a law enforcement agency
24may use an unmanned aircraft system to surveil private property
25if an exigent circumstance exists, including, but not limited to, one
26of the following circumstances:

end insert

27(1) In emergency situations if there is an imminent threat to life
28or of great bodily harm, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage
29crises, “hot pursuit” situations if reasonably necessary to prevent
30harm to law enforcement officers or others, and search and rescue
31operations on land or water.

32(2) To assess the necessity of first responders and process scenes
33in situations relating to traffic accidents.

34(3) To document traffic collision and crime scenes.

35(4) To inspect state parks and wilderness areas for illegal
36vegetation or fires, regardless of permanent improvements or
37temporary human habitation.

38(5) To determine the appropriate response to an imminent or
39existing environmental emergency or disaster, including, but not
40limited to, oils spills or chemical spills.

begin delete

37 P6    1(e)

end delete

2begin insert(f)end insert A public agency other than a law enforcement agency may
3use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an
4unmanned aircraft system, to achieve the core mission of the
5agency provided that the purpose is unrelated to the gathering of
6criminal intelligence.

begin delete

4 7(f)

end delete

8begin insert(g)end insert A public agency that is not primarily a law enforcement
9agency, but that employs peace officers or performs functions
10related to criminal investigations, may use an unmanned aircraft
11system without obtaining a warrant to achieve the core mission of
12the agency provided that the purpose is unrelated to the gathering
13of criminal intelligence, and that the images, footage, or data are
14not used for any purpose other than that for which it was collected.

15

14351.  

begin delete(a)end deletebegin deleteend deleteA public agency that uses an unmanned aircraft
16system, or contracts for the use of an unmanned aircraft system,
17pursuant to this title shall first provide reasonable notice to the
18public. Reasonable notice shall, at a minimum, consist of a
19one-time announcement regarding the agency’s intent to deploy
20unmanned aircraft system technology and a description of the
21technology’s capabilities.

begin delete

22(b) A law enforcement agency that uses an unmanned aircraft
23system shall first provide reasonable notice to the public or to the
24governing board, or create a set of guidelines, which will be made
25available to the public. Reasonable notice or the guidelines shall,
26at a minimum, consist of a one-time announcement regarding the
27agency’s intent to deploy unmanned aircraft system technology,
28a description of the technology’s capabilities, and what the
29technology will and will not be used for.

end delete
30

14352.  

(a) (1) (A) Except as permitted by this title, images,
31footage, or data obtained by a public agency, or any entity
32contracting with a public agency,begin delete overend deletebegin insert of aend insert private property and
33pursuant to this title shall not be disseminated to a law enforcement
34agency unless the law enforcement agency hasbegin delete obtained consent
35from the property owner or a warrantend delete
begin insert the permission of the person
36or entity with the legal authority to grant access to the property
37or a search warrantend insert
for the images, footage, or data based on
38probable cause pursuant to this code, or the law enforcement
39agency would not have been required to obtain a warrant to collect
40the images, footage, or data itself, as specified in Section 14350.

P7    1(B) A public agency that is not primarily a law enforcement
2agency, but that employs peace officers or performs functions
3related to criminal investigations, may disseminate images, footage,
4or data collected pursuant to Section 14350 if the dissemination
5is to others within that agency.

6(2) Except as permitted by this title, images, footage, or data
7obtained by a public agency, or any entity contracting with a public
8agency, through the use of an unmanned aircraft system shall not
9be disseminated outside the collecting public agency, unless one
10of the following circumstances applies:

11(A) Images, footage, or data obtained by a public agency through
12the use of an unmanned aircraft system may be disseminated to
13another public agency that is not a law enforcement agency if the
14images, footage, or data are related to the core mission of both
15public agencies involved in the sending or receiving of the images,
16footage, or data.

17(B) Images, footage, or data obtained by a public agency through
18the use of an unmanned aircraft system may be disseminated
19outside the collecting public agency if the images, footage, or data
20are evidence in any claim filed or any pending litigation.

21(C) Images, footage, or data obtained by a public agency through
22the use of an unmanned aircraft system may be disseminated to a
23private entity if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

24(i) The collecting public agency is not a law enforcement
25agency.

26(ii) The images, footage, or data are related to the core function
27of the collecting public agency.

28(3) A public agency may make available to the public images,
29footage, or data obtained by the public agency through the use of
30an unmanned aircraft system if both of the following conditions
31are satisfied:

32(A) The images, footage, or data do not depict or describe any
33individual or group of individuals, or the activities of any individual
34or group of individuals whose identity or identities can be
35ascertained.

36(B) The disclosure of the images, footage, or data is required
37to fulfill the public agency’s statutory or mandatory obligations.

38(b) Except as permitted by this title, images, footage, or data
39obtained by a public agency through the use of an unmanned
P8    1aircraft system shall not be used by the public agency for any
2purpose other than that for which it was collected.

3(c) (1) Images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an
4unmanned aircraft system shall be permanently destroyed within
5one year, except that a public agency may retain the images,
6footage, or data in all of the following circumstances:

7(A) For training purposes. Images, footage, or data retained for
8training purposes shall be used only for the education and
9instruction of a public agency’s employees in matters related to
10the mission of the public agency and for no other purpose.

11(B) For academic research or teaching purposes. Images,
12footage, or data retained for academic research or teaching purposes
13shall be used only for the advancement of research and teaching
14conducted by an academic or research institution and matters
15related to the mission of the institution and for no other purpose.

16(C) For purposes of monitoring material assets owned by the
17public agency.

18(D) For environmental, public works, or land use management
19or planning by the public agency.

20(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a public agency may retain
21beyond one year images, footage, or data obtained through the use
22of an unmanned aircraft system in both of the following
23circumstances:

24(A) If abegin insert searchend insert warrant authorized the collection of the images,
25footage, or data.

26(B) If the images, footage, or data are evidence in any claim
27filed or any pending litigationbegin insert, internal disciplinary proceeding,end insert
28 or enforcement proceeding.

29

14353.  

Unless authorized by federal law, a person or entity,
30including a public agency subject to Section 14350 or a person or
31entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that
32contract, shall not equip or arm an unmanned aircraft system with
33a weapon or other device that may be carriedbegin delete by or launched fromend delete
34begin insert by, or launched or directed from,end insert an unmanned aircraft system
35and that is intended to causebegin insert incapacitation,end insert bodily injury or death,
36or damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property.

37

14354.  

All unmanned aircraft systems shall be operated so as
38to minimize the collection of images, footage, or data of persons,
39places, or things not specified with particularity in the warrant
40authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system, or, if no
P9    1warrant was obtained, for purposes unrelated to the justification
2for the operation.

3

14355.  

(a) This title is not intended to conflict with or
4supersede federal law, including rules and regulations of the
5Federal Aviation Administration.

6(b) A local legislative body may adopt more restrictive policies
7on the acquisitionbegin delete or useend deletebegin insert, use, or retentionend insert of unmanned aircraft
8systems.

9

14356.  

For the purposes of this title, the following definitions
10shall apply:

11(a) “Criminal intelligence” means information compiled,
12analyzed, or disseminated in an effort to anticipate, prevent,
13monitor, or investigate criminal activity.

14(b) “Law enforcement agency” means the Attorney General of
15the State of California, each district attorney, and each agency of
16the State of California authorized by statute to investigate or
17prosecute law violators.

18(c) “Public agency” means and includes each state agency and
19each local agency.

20(d)  “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft
21and associated elements, including communication links and the
22components that control the unmanned aircraft, that are required
23for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the
24national airspace system.

25

14357.  

Except as provided in this title, the surveillance
26restrictions on electronic devices described in Chapter 1.5
27(commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1 shall apply
28to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a public
29agency.

30

SEC. 3.  

The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of
31this act, which adds Section 6254.31 of the Government Code,
32imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings
33of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies
34within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California
35Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the
36Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest
37protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:

38In order to ensure the safety of persons involved in investigations
39and to preserve the integrity of those investigations, it is necessary
40that this act take effect.

P10   1

SEC. 4.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
2Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
3the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
4district under this act would result from a legislative mandate that
5is within the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section
63 of Article I of the California Constitution.



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