Amended in Senate April 22, 2015

Amended in Senate April 7, 2015

Amended in Senate March 11, 2015

Senate BillNo. 170


Introduced by Senator Gaines

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(Coauthor: Senator Anderson)

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February 5, 2015


An act to add Sections 4577 and 4578 to the Penal Code, relating to unmanned aircraft systems.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 170, as amended, Gaines. Unmanned aircraft systems: correctional facilities.

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.

Existing state law generally prohibits a person from bringing, possessing, distributing, or selling certain devices and substances, including, among other things, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, and deadly weapons, in state prison or a jail. Existing law also prohibits unauthorized communication with inmates in state prison or a jail. Existing law provides criminal penalties for violations of these provisions.

This bill would make a person who uses an unmanned aircraft system, as defined,begin delete to commit aend deletebegin insert inend insert violation ofbegin delete thoseend deletebegin insert specifiedend insert provisions, subject tobegin delete the imposition of a sentence of one year of imprisonment orend delete a doubled fine, as specified, in addition to any other penalty provided by law.begin insert The bill would also require that the use of an unmanned aircraft system in violation of specified provisions be considered a factor in aggravation in sentencing for purposes of a felony conviction under those provisions.end insert

This bill would make a person who knowingly and intentionally operates an unmanned aircraft system below the navigable airspace overlaying a state prison or a jail guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill would make these misdemeanor provisions inapplicable to a person employed by the prison or jail acting within the scope of his or her employment, or a person who receives prior permission from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the county sheriff. By creating new crimes, the bill 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:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 4577 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

2

4577.  

(a) (1) When a person uses an unmanned aircraft system
3to commit abegin insert felonyend insert violation of this chapter,begin delete excluding Section
44575 or 4576, a sentence of one year of imprisonment shall be
5imposed in addition to any other penalty provided by lawend delete
begin insert the use
6of the unmanned aircraft system shall be considered a factor in
7aggravation in sentencingend insert
.

8(2) When a person uses an unmanned aircraft system to commit
9a violation of Section 4575 or 4576, the maximum or prescribed
10amounts of fines for offenses in those sections shall be doubled in
11addition to any other penalty provided by law.

12(3) This subdivision does not apply to a violation of Section
134578 or 4579.

14(b) For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

P3    1(1) “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated
2without the possibility of direct human intervention from within
3or on the aircraft.

4(2) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft
5and associated elements, including, but not limited to,
6communication links and the components that control the
7unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to
8operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

9

SEC. 2.  

Section 4578 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

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4578.  

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), a
11person who knowingly and intentionally operates an unmanned
12aircraft system below the navigable airspace, as defined in Section
1342102 of Title 49 of the United States Code, overlaying a state
14prison or a jail is guilty of a misdemeanor.

15(b) This section does not apply to a person employed by the
16prison who operates the unmanned aircraft system within the scope
17of his or her employment, or a person who receives prior
18permission from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
19to operate the unmanned aircraft system over the prison.

20(c) This section does not apply to a person employed by the jail
21who operates the unmanned aircraft system within the scope of
22his or her employment, or a person who receives prior permission
23from the county sheriff to operate the unmanned aircraft system
24over the jail.

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SEC. 3.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
26Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
27the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
28district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
29infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
30for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
31the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
32the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
33Constitution.



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