Bills to criminalize peeping drones passed unanimously, sent to governor _lowres

AP file photo: DroneLinx CEO Steve Metzman operates a drone to make videos and still images of an apartment building.

Louisiana lawmakers want to bar trespassers and peeping Toms from using drones to gain access to homes and schools under measures sent to the governor’s desk.

With a 96-0 vote, the House unanimously voted Friday to give final passage to two proposals, House Bill 635 by Rep. Marcus Hunter, a D-Monroe, and House Bill 19 by Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles.

Hunter’s measure would add the use of unmanned aircraft to video voyeurism crimes. Hunter said he wanted invasion of privacy crimes to include lewd drone video recordings and photography.

Dwight’s bill would specifically limit drone use near schools, school property or correctional facilities.

The bills make exceptions for police, situations where the landowner grants permission and for pre-agreed recordings like sporting events.

The Senate also voted unanimously Friday to send its own bill to regulate drone use to the governor. With a 36-0 vote, the chamber gave final passage to Senate Bill 141 from Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, to cover drones under criminal trespassing laws. The bill makes an exception for anyone flying the unmanned aircraft system for commercial agricultural use.

The House amended Claitor’s bill to align with Federal Aviation Administration guidelines. The House also stripped portions of the bill that would have allowed property owners to keep captured drones and freed owners of liability for any damages to the trespassing systems.

The bill changes, Claitor said, “watered it down, making it very acceptable to most folks.”