Senate unanimously passes drone bill

By Zoie Richey 

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,

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, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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