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AB-3173 Unmanned aircraft systems.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/27/2018 09:00 PM

Amended  IN  Senate  June 27, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 26, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018


Assembly Bill
No. 3173

Introduced by Assembly Member Irwin

February 16, 2018

An act to add Section 650 to the Penal Code, relating to unmanned aircraft systems.


AB 3173, as amended, Irwin. Unmanned aerial vehicles. aircraft systems.
Existing federal laws and regulations regulate the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), also known as drones or remotely piloted aircraft. Existing federal laws and regulations require the registration of certain UASs, require commercial operators of UASs to be licensed, prohibit the operation of UASs above specified altitudes and within specified distances of an airport, prohibit nighttime operation, and require a UAS to remain within the sight of the pilot.
Existing California law prohibits the use of a UAS to interfere with emergency personnel or operations at the scene of an emergency. Existing law also creates a civil cause of action against a person who enters the airspace above the dwelling of another and captures images or other recordings, as specified.
This bill would make it an infraction to operate an unregistered UAS that is required to be registered under federal law.
By creating a new infraction, this 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   Local Program: YES  

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


 The Legislature declares that the intent of this act is to accomplish the following goals:
(a) To foster and promote public safety in the use of unmanned aircraft systems.
(b) To encourage the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems.
(c) To explore the development of a balanced approach to a consistent state regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft systems that can work for industry, local government, and law enforcement.

SEC. 2.

 Section 650 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

 (a) A person shall not operate an unmanned aircraft system required to be registered by federal law without valid paper or electronic evidence of registration.
(b) Based upon reasonable suspicion that a violation of subdivision (a) is occurring, any peace officer authorized to enforce state and local laws is authorized to demand evidence of registration from a person operating an unmanned aircraft system.
(c) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(d)This section does not preclude any administrative, civil, or criminal action under federal law.


(d) As used in this section, “unmanned aircraft system” means any airborne device that does not carry persons and is piloted from a remote location, whether or not that device contains a camera or other recording equipment. “Unmanned aircraft system” includes those devices commonly referred to as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely piloted aircraft, or remotely controlled aircraft.

SEC. 3.

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