SB 518 (Diaz) and CS/HB 433 (Andrade) allow police and fire departments to use drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster.
CS/CS/SB 44 (Wright) and CS/CS/HB 1049 (Giallombardo) allow police and fire departments to use drones to manage crowd control and traffic as well as gather evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. The bills permit a state agency or political subdivision to operate drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster during a declared state of emergency. CS/CS/HB 1049 and CS/CS/SB 44 were amended to specify that law enforcement agencies may use drones only to provide an aerial perspective for crowds of 50 or more. The amendments also require law enforcement to create policies and procedures for use of the drone and storage of images and video collected. CS/CS/HB 1049 was further amended to clarify that cybersecurity measures must be adopted by Department of Management Services (DMS) for governmental agencies to ensure the data collected by the drones will be secure. Also, drones used for the purposes set forth in the bills must be purchased by an approved manufacturer. By January 1, 2023, all governmental agencies must discontinue the use of drones not produced by an approved manufacturer. DMS has until January 2, 2022, to establish this list. CS/CS/HB 1049 was substituted for CS/CS/SB 44. CS/CS/SB 44 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (40-0). (Taggart)