Criminal use of drones penalties fly to governor

By Nicole Hernandez
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The General Assembly is working to keep up with drone technology.

Senate Bill 299, which creates penalties for Hoosiers who fly drones and knowingly violate a person’s privacy, is headed to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

Under this legislation, misuse of a drone includes the following:

  • a sex offender operating a drone to capture inappropriate images or recordings of individuals
  • using a drone to interfere with public safety
  • committing aerial voyeurism
  • committing aerial harassment.

The offender would face a Class A misdemeanor, which would likely result in probation but could include up to a year in jail. The penalties would take effect on July 1.

The Senate voted 47-1 Tuesday. Only Sen. Lonnie Randolph voted against the bill, authored by Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford.

“When we’re dealing with these unmanned aerial vehicles, what happens if you’ve got a kid doing it? Are you going to hit a kid with a felony? I just think it’s too new,” Randolph said.

Randolph wants more data on violations before legislators take action.

Nicole Hernandez is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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