BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó






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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 1680
          Author:   Rodriguez (D) 
          Amended:  5/5/16 in Assembly
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE:  7-0, 6/21/16
           AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Glazer, Leno, Liu, Monning, Stone

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/9/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Crimes:  emergency personnel


          SOURCE:    Author
          
          DIGEST:   This bill makes it a misdemeanor to use a drone to  
          impede specified emergency personnel in the performance of their  
          duties while coping with an emergency.

          ANALYSIS:  

          Existing law:

          1)States that every person who willfully resists, delays, or  
            obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency  
            medical technician, as specified, in the discharge or attempt  
            to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, is  
            guilty of a misdemeanor. (Penal Code § 148 (a).) 

          2)Specifies that the fact that a person takes a photograph or  
            makes an audio or video recording of a public officer or peace  








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            officer, while the officer is in a public place or the person  
            taking the photograph or making the recording is in a place he  
            or she has the right to be, does not constitute, in and of  
            itself, a violation of resisting, delaying or obstructing an  
            officer, nor does it constitute reasonable suspicion to detain  
            the person or probable cause to arrest the person. (Penal Code  
            § 148 (g).) 

          3)States that every person who willfully commits any of the  
            following acts at the burning of a building or at any other  
            time and place where any fireman or firemen or emergency  
            rescue personnel are discharging or attempting to discharge an  
            official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor:  (a) resists or  
            interferes with the lawful efforts of any fireman or firemen  
            or emergency rescue personnel in the discharge or attempt to  
            discharge an official duty; (b) disobeys the lawful orders of  
            any fireman or public officer; (c) engages in any disorderly  
            conduct which delays or prevents a fire from being timely  
            extinguished; or (d) forbids or prevents others from assisting  
            in extinguishing a fire or exhorts another person, as to whom  
            he has no legal right or obligation to protect or control,  
            from assisting in extinguishing a fire. (Penal Code § 148.2)

          4)Provides that any person who hinders, delays, or obstructs any  
            portion of the militia parading or performing any military  
            duty, or who attempts so to do, is guilty of a misdemeanor.  
            (Military & Veterans Code § 396.) 

          5)States that every person who goes to the scene of an  
            emergency, or stops at the scene of an emergency, for the  
            purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of police  
            officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency  
            personnel, or military personnel coping with the emergency in  
            the course of their duties during the time it is necessary for  
            emergency vehicles or those personnel to be at the scene of  
            the emergency or to be moving to or from the scene of the  
            emergency for the purpose of protecting lives or property,  
            unless it is part of the duties of that person's employment to  
            view that scene or activities, and thereby impedes police  
            officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency  
            personnel or military personnel, in the performance of their  
            duties in coping with the emergency, is guilty of a  
            misdemeanor. (Penal Code § 402 (a).)








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          6)Provides that every person who knowingly resists or interferes  
            with the lawful efforts of a lifeguard in the discharge or  
            attempted discharge of an official duty in an emergency  
            situation, when the person knows or reasonably should know  
            that the lifeguard is engaged in the performance of his or her  
            official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Penal Code § 402  
            (b).) 

          7)Specifies that "emergency" includes a condition or situation  
            involving injury to persons, damage to property, or peril to  
            the safety of persons or property, which results from a fire,  
            an explosion, an airplane crash, flooding, windstorm damage, a  
            railroad accident, a traffic accident, a power plant accident,  
            a toxic chemical or biological spill, or any other natural or  
            human-caused event. (Penal Code § 402(c).) 

          This bill amends Penal Code Section 402 to state that a person  
          subject to this section shall include a person, regardless of  
          his or her location, who operates or uses an unmanned aerial  
          vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone that is at the scene  
          of an emergency.

          Comments
          
          According to the author:

            Recently in California a pilot flying a helicopter with  
            seven firefighters on board who were battling a blaze  
            threatening nearby homes, saw a four-rotor drone only 10  
            feet from his windshield.  This forced him to make a hard  
            left to avoid a collision about 500 feet above ground.  In  
            another incident, the sighting of five drones in the area  
            of a wildfire that closed Interstate 15 in Southern  
            California and destroyed numerous vehicles, grounded air  
            tanker crews for 20 minutes as flames spread.
            The unregulated and irresponsible use of drones is placing  
            Californians, our firefighters and emergency response  
            personnel in increasing danger.  

            The existing Penal Code section dealing with interfering  
            with police, fire and EMTs does not specifically state  
            that the crime can be committed by using a drone.  By  
            clarifying existing law, police, fire and EMTs will be  
            able to tell drone operators that the use of an unmanned  







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            aircraft that interferes with their official activities is  
            a crime and that they must discontinue their use or face  
            being charged.

            Unmanned aircraft or the use of a drone is an emerging  
            industry and technology that is rapidly gaining in  
            popularity.  The sheer numbers of drones is creating  
            problems and concerns about how and where they should be  
            used and it is only now that they are being regulated by  
            the FAA.  AB 1680 recognizes the fact that drones will  
            need additional federal and state regulation but takes a  
            common sense intermediate approach to doing so.  

            Last year the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency  
            management and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a  
            hearing on drones in California.  While the use of drones  
            has been presenting increasing numbers of problems and  
            difficulties, many of those testifying recommended moving  
            slowly to see what the Federal Aviation Administration's  
            response would be in regulating unmanned aerial vehicles.

            AB 1680 is a modest step in ensuring that drones do not  
            interfere with law enforcement, fire fighters and  
            emergency personnel. 

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/2/16)

          Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
          California Association of Air Medical Services
          California Fire Chiefs Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California Special Districts Association
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          California Statewide Law Enforcement Association
          East Bay Regional Park District
          Fire Districts Association of California
          Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
          Los Angeles Police Protective League
          Los Angeles Professional Peace Officers Association
          Riverside Sheriffs' Association








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          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/2/16)




          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children 



          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/9/16
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Arambula, Atkins, Baker,  
            Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke,  
            Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley,  
            Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle, Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier,  
            Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder,  
            Lopez, Low, Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina,  
            Melendez, Mullin, Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Olsen,  
            Patterson, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago,  
            Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber,  
            Wilk, Williams, Wood, Rendon
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Beth Gaines, Eduardo Garcia

          Prepared by:Mary Kennedy / PUB. S. / 
          8/3/16 18:49:55


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