Senate unanimously passes drone bill

By Zoie Richey
TheStatehouseFile.com 

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would criminalize the inappropriate use of drones passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday.

Senate Bill 299 establishes four new Class A misdemeanors for misusing drone technology.

Sen. Eric Koch introduces his bill to the Senate during the Third Reading deadline. Photo by Lucas Lloyd, TheStatehouseFile.com

Author of the bill, Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, said misuse of a drone covers: 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 or committing aerial harassment.

Those who inappropriately operate a drone can also face a Level 6 felony if they have a prior unrelated conviction for the same offense or if they use a drone to take images of individuals that are published or put on the internet.

“This bill essentially says that you cannot do with a drone what you cannot otherwise do,” said Koch. “It keeps the law ahead of technology.”

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A Level 6 felony is punishable by a range of six months to two and a half years with an advisory sentence of one year.

SB 299 now moves on to the House for review.

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

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