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In 2013 the Legislature passed a bill to prohibit unmanned aircraft from being used to conduct surveillance of a person or property. The intent of the bill was to protect privacy and property rights. A list of exemptions was included to protect the legitimate use of unmanned aerial surveillance. However, some legitimate uses may not have been included in the exemptions. This bill seeks to address that issue.
HB 2167 would provide exceptions to the use of images made by unmanned aircraft by professional land surveyors and engineers in connection with their professional practice provided that no individual is identifiable in the image and for private or independent institutions of higher education that use unmanned aircraft purposes of professional or scholarly research and development.
By including these new provisions in the list of acceptable uses of photography or video by unmanned aircraft, HB 2167 would protect professional land surveyors, professional engineers, and private or independent institutions of higher education from charges relating to their use of unmanned aircraft to take images within the scope of their professional practice or scholarly research. This strengthens the original law by continuing to protect the rights of property owners while also protecting the economic liberty of people who use aerial photography for legitimate purposes.
Due to HB 2167's protection of of legal professional practices from overcriminalizaton we support this legislation.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Zaffirini.