Amended in Senate July 16, 2015

Amended in Senate July 7, 2015

Amended in Senate June 24, 2015

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 law enforcement agencies from using unmanned aircraft systems, obtaining an unmanned aircraft system from another public agency by contract, loan, or other arrangement, or using information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system used by another public agency, except as provided by the bill’s provisions. The bill would authorize a law enforcement agency to use an unmanned aircraft system if the law enforcement agency complies with specified requirements, including, among others, that before the use of an unmanned aircraft system, the law enforcement agencybegin delete develops andend deletebegin insert develops,end insert makes available to thebegin delete publicend deletebegin insert public, and, at least once every 3 years, reviews,end insert a policy on the use of an unmanned aircraft system, as provided, and that the law enforcement agency complies with protections against unreasonable searches guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the California Constitution,begin insert protection of the right of privacy guaranteed by the California Constitution,end insert federal law applicable to the use of an unmanned aircraft system by an agency, state and local law applicable to any agency’s use of surveillance technology that can be attached to an unmanned aircraft system, and the unmanned aircraft system policy developed by the law enforcement agency pursuant to the bill’s provisions.begin insert The bill would require a law enforcement agency that uses an unmanned aircraft system to ensure that information and data gathered through the use of the system is protected with reasonable operational, administrative, technical, and physical safeguards, and to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices in order to protect information and data gathered through the use of that system from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.end insert The bill would prohibit a law enforcement agency from using an unmanned aircraft system to surveil private property unless, among other justifications, the law enforcement agency obtains a search warrant.

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.begin delete The bill would generally prohibit images, footage, or data of private property obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system under these provisions from being disseminated outside the collecting law enforcement agency, except as specified.end delete 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 by, or launched or directed from, an unmanned aircraft system and that is intended to cause incapacitation, bodily injury or death, or damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.begin insert The bill would require a law enforcement agency that operates an unmanned aircraft system to keep a record of the use of that system, including information on whether a search warrant was sought before the system was used, and, in situations where a warrant was sought, whether the warrant was granted or denied.end insert 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 law enforcement agency.

The bill would make its provisions applicable to all law enforcement agencies and private entities when contracting with or acting as the agent of a law enforcement agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system.

begin insert

The bill would authorize, in addition to any other sanctions, penalties, or remedies provided by law, an individual who has been harmed by a violation of the bill’s provisions to bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction against a person who knowingly caused that violation, and would authorize the court to award, among other things, actual damages, punitive damages, and other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

end insert

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:

P4    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, including use pursuant to Title 14 (commencing
6with Section 14350) of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or any related
7record, including, but not limited to, usage logs or logs that identify
8any person or entity that subsequently obtains or requests records
9of that system, are 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,
16footage, data, or records would endanger the safety of a person
17involved in an investigation, or would endanger the successful
18completion of the investigation.

19

SEC. 2.  

Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) is added
20to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read:

21 

22Title 14.  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

23

 

24

14350.  

(a) A law enforcement agency shall not use an
25unmanned aircraft system, obtain an unmanned aircraft system
P5    1from another public agency by contract, loan, or other arrangement,
2or use information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system
3used by another public agency, except as provided in this title.
4This title shall apply to all law enforcement agencies and private
5entities when contracting with or acting as the agent of a law
6enforcement agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system.

7(b) A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft
8system, or use information obtained from an unmanned aircraft
9 system used by another public agency, if the law enforcement
10agency complies withbegin insert the requirements of this title andend insert allbegin delete ofend delete
11begin insert applicable federal, state, and local law, includingend insert the following:

12(1) Protections against unreasonable searches guaranteed by the
13United States Constitution and the California Constitution.

begin insert

14(2) Protection of the inalienable right of privacy guaranteed by
15the California Constitution.

end insert
begin delete

16(2)

end delete

17begin insert(3)end insert Federal law applicable to the use of an unmanned aircraft
18system by an agency, including, but not limited to, regulations of
19the Federal Aviation Administration.

begin delete

20(3)

end delete

21begin insert(4)end insert State and local law applicable to any agency’s use of
22surveillance technology that can be attached to an unmanned
23aircraft system, including, but not limited to, Chapter 1.5
24(commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1.

begin delete

25(4)

end delete

26begin insert(c)end insert If the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a local law
27enforcement agency may involve the collection of images, footage,
28or data from another county, city, or city and county, the law
29enforcement agency shall obtain a warrant based on probable cause,
30unless an exigent circumstance exists.

begin delete

31(5) (A)  The

end delete

32begin insert(d)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insert(1)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAend insert law enforcement agencybegin delete develops and makes available
33to the publicend delete
begin insert shall developend insert a policy on the use ofbegin delete anend delete unmanned
34aircraftbegin delete systemend deletebegin insert systemsend insert andbegin delete trainsend deletebegin insert trainend insert the law enforcement
35agency’s officers and employees on the policy, before the use of
36the unmanned aircraft system.begin insert This policy shall be made available
37to the public in writing, and, if the law enforcement agency has
38an Internet Web site, the policy shall be posted conspicuously on
39that Internet Web site.end insert

begin delete

40(B) The

end delete

P6    1begin insert (2)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAend insert law enforcement agencybegin delete usesend deletebegin insert shall useend insert the unmanned
2aircraft system consistent with the policy developed pursuant to
3thisbegin delete paragraph.end deletebegin insert subdivision.end insert

begin delete

4(C)

end delete

5begin insert(3)end insert Before finalizing the policy required by thisbegin delete paragraph,end delete
6begin insert subdivision,end insert the law enforcement agency shall present the proposed
7policy at a regularly scheduled and noticed public meeting of its
8governing body with an opportunity for public comment.

begin delete

9(D)

end delete

10begin insert(4)end insert The policy required by thisbegin delete paragraphend deletebegin insert subdivisionend insert shall
11specify, at a minimum, all of the following:

begin delete

12(i) The circumstances under which an unmanned aircraft system
13may and may not be used.

14(ii) The time limits applicable to each circumstance.

15(iii) The rules and processes required before such use.

16(iv) The individuals who may access or use an unmanned aircraft
17system or its collected information and the circumstances under
18which they may do so.

19(v) The safeguards to protect unauthorized use or access.

20(vi) Training required for any individual authorized to use or
21access the sharing or information.

22(vii) Sharing of images, data, or footage with other law
23enforcement agencies and public agencies.

24(viii) The

end delete
begin insert

25(A) How the collection, use, maintenance, sharing, and
26dissemination of information and data gathered through the use
27of an unmanned aircraft system is consistent with respect for an
28individual’s privacy and civil liberties.

end insert
begin insert

29(B) The authorized purposes for using an unmanned aircraft
30system and for collecting information or data using that technology,
31including the circumstances under which an unmanned aircraft
32system may and may not be used. The policy shall identify any time
33limits applicable to the use of an unmanned aircraft system and
34the rules and procedures to be followed before such use.

end insert
begin insert

35(C) A description of the employees who are authorized to use
36or access information or data collected through the use of an
37unmanned aircraft system. The policy shall identify the training
38requirements necessary for those authorized employees, as well
39as the circumstances under which they may use or access this
40information or data.

end insert
begin insert

P7    1(D) A description of how the use of an unmanned aircraft system
2will be monitored to ensure compliance with all applicable privacy
3laws and a process for periodic system audits.

end insert
begin insert

4(E) A description of reasonable measures that will be used to
5ensure the accuracy of information or data gathered through the
6use of an unmanned aircraft system, and a process to correct
7errors.

end insert
begin insert

8(F) A description of how the law enforcement agency will comply
9with the security procedures and practices implemented and
10maintained pursuant to subdivision (e).

end insert
begin insert

11(G) The official custodian or owner of information or data
12gathered through the use of an unmanned aircraft system, and the
13employee or employees that have the responsibility and
14accountability for implementing this subdivision.

end insert
begin insert

15(H) The purpose of, and process for, sharing or disseminating
16information or data gathered through the use of an unmanned
17aircraft system with other law enforcement agencies and public
18agencies. The policy shall also identify how the use or further
19sharing or dissemination of that information or data will be
20restricted in order to ensure respect for an individual’s privacy
21and civil liberties.

end insert

22begin insert(I)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertTheend insert manner in which information obtained from another
23public agency will be used.

begin delete

24(ix)

end delete

25begin insert(J)end insert Mechanisms to ensure the policy is followed.

begin delete

26(c)

end delete
begin insert

27(K) The policy shall prohibit the use of an unmanned aircraft
28system solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by
29the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the
30lawful exercise of other rights secured by the United States
31Constitution, the California Constitution, and federal and state
32law. The policy shall also prohibit the use of an unmanned aircraft
33system to engage in discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity,
34gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender
35identity.

end insert
begin insert

36(5) The policy required by this subdivision shall be reviewed at
37least once every three years to evaluate whether changes may be
38needed as a result of innovations or developments in unmanned
39aircraft system technology, to identify potential risks to individual
P8    1privacy and civil liberties, and to ensure compliance with existing
2laws and regulations.

end insert
begin insert

3(e) A law enforcement agency that uses an unmanned aircraft
4system shall ensure that information and data gathered through
5the use of the system is protected with reasonable operational,
6administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure its
7confidentiality and integrity. A law enforcement agency that uses
8an unmanned aircraft system shall implement and maintain
9reasonable security procedures and practices in order to protect
10information and data gathered through the use of that system from
11unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.

end insert

12begin insert(f)end insert A law enforcement agency shall not use an unmanned aircraft
13system, or information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system
14used by another public agency, to surveil private property unless
15the law enforcement agencybegin delete complies with subdivision (b) andend delete
16 has obtained either of the following:

17(1) A search warrant based on probable cause.

18(2) The express permission of the person or entity with the legal
19authority to authorize a search of the specific private property to
20be subjected to surveillance.

begin delete

21(d)

end delete

22begin insert(g)end insert Notwithstanding subdivisionbegin delete (c),end deletebegin insert (f),end insert a law enforcement
23agency may use an unmanned aircraft system to surveil private
24property if an exigent circumstance exists, including, but not
25 limited to, either of the following circumstances:

26(1) In emergency situations if there is an imminent threat to life
27or of great bodily harm, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage
28crises, barricaded suspects, “hot pursuit” situations if reasonably
29necessary to prevent harm to law enforcement officers or others,
30and search and rescue operations on land or water.

31(2) To determine the appropriate response to an imminent or
32existing environmental emergency or disaster, including, but not
33limited to,begin delete oilsend deletebegin insert oilend insert spills or chemical spills.

34

14351.  

(a) Images, footage, or data obtained through the use
35of an unmanned aircraft system shall be permanently destroyed
36within one year, except that a law enforcement agency may retain
37the images, footage, or data in both of the following circumstances:

38(1) For training purposes. Images, footage, or data retained for
39training purposes shall be used only for the education and
40instruction of a law enforcement agency’s employees in matters
P9    1related to the mission of the law enforcement agency and for no
2other purpose.

3(2) For academic research or teaching purposes. Images, footage,
4or data retained for academic research or teaching purposes shall
5be used only for the advancement of research and teaching
6conducted by an academic or research institution and matters
7related to the mission of the institution and for no other purpose.

8(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a law enforcement agency
9may retain beyond one year images, footage, or data obtained
10through the use of an unmanned aircraft system in both of the
11following circumstances:

12(1) If a search warrant authorized the collection of the images,
13footage, or data.

14(2) If the images, footage, or data are evidence in any claim
15filed or any pending litigation, internal disciplinary proceeding,
16enforcement proceeding, or criminal investigation.

17

14352.  

Unless authorized by federal law, a person or entity,
18including a law enforcement agency subject to Section 14350 or
19a person or entity under contract to a law enforcement agency, for
20the purpose of that contract, shall not equip or arm an unmanned
21aircraft system with a weapon or other device that may be carried
22by, or launched or directed from, an unmanned aircraft system and
23that is intended to cause incapacitation, bodily injury or death, or
24damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property.

25

14353.  

All unmanned aircraft systems shall be operated so as
26to minimize the collection of images, footage, or data of persons,
27places, or things not specified with particularity in the warrant
28authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system, or, if no
29warrant was obtained, for purposes unrelated to the justification
30for the operation.

begin insert
31

begin insert14354.end insert  

A law enforcement agency that operates an unmanned
32aircraft system shall keep a record of the use of that system, which
33shall include information on whether a search warrant was sought
34before the system was used, and, in situations where a warrant
35was sought, whether the warrant was granted or denied.

end insert
36

begin delete14354.end delete
37begin insert14355.end insert  

(a) This title is not intended to conflict with or
38supersede federal law, including rules and regulations of the
39Federal Aviation Administration.

P10   1(b) A local legislative body may adopt more restrictive policies
2than those specified in state law on the acquisition, use, or retention
3of unmanned aircraft systems.

4

begin delete14355.end delete
5begin insert14356.end insert  

For the purposes of this title, the following definitions
6shall apply:

7(a) “Law enforcement agency” means the Attorney General,
8each district attorney, and each agency of the state or political
9subdivision of the state authorized by statute to investigate or
10prosecute law violators.

11(b)  “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft
12and associated elements, including communication links and the
13components that control the unmanned aircraft, that are required
14for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the
15national airspace system.

16

begin delete14356.end delete
17begin insert14357.end insert  

Except as provided in this title, the surveillance
18restrictions on electronic devices described in Chapter 1.5
19(commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1 shall apply
20to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a law
21enforcement agency.

begin insert
22

begin insert14358.end insert  

In addition to any other sanctions, penalties, or
23remedies provided by law, an individual who has been harmed by
24a violation of this title may bring a civil action in any court of
25competent jurisdiction against a person who knowingly caused
26that violation. The court may award any of the following:

27(a) Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages in the
28amount of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).

29(b) Punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard
30of the law.

31(c) Reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs
32reasonably incurred.

33(d) Other preliminary and equitable relief as the court
34determines to be appropriate.

end insert
35

SEC. 3.  

The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of
36this act, which adds Section 6254.31 of the Government Code,
37imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings
38of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies
39within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California
40Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the
P11   1Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest
2protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:

3In order to ensure the safety of persons involved in investigations
4and to preserve the integrity of those investigations, it is necessary
5that this act take effect.

6

SEC. 4.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
7Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
8the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
9district under this act would result either from a legislative mandate
10that is within the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of
11Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, or because
12this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or
13infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within
14the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes
15the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article
16XIII   B of the California Constitution.



O

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