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Wed, Dec 06, 2017

New Jersey Legislature Considers State-Wide Drone Regulation

Would Criminalize Operation Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs

The New Jersey Legislature is considering legislation that would criminalize some aspects of drone operation, including operation under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

NorthJersey.com reports that the bill advanced through a committee on Monday. Other prohibited uses would include using a drone to harass or harm wildlife or endanger property.

In a statement from State Senator Paul Sarlo (D), one of the bill's sponsors, if it is signed by Governor Chris Christie (R) before he leaves office on January 16, it would become the first state-wide law regulating drones.

In a separate statement, bill co-sponsor Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D) said drones "have become increasingly disruptive, causing near-misses with airplanes, interfering with firefighter operations and being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into prisons. This bill sets specific guidelines for how New Jersey’s residents are able to utilize these devices to establish some order and help prevent these dangerous situations."

The bill would also make interference with first responders and endangering the security of a correctional facility a fourth-degree crime, while surveilling a correctional facility with a drone would be a third-degree crime.

In a previous session, both houses of the New Jersey legislature passed bills that would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using a drone to investigate a crime, but Christie did not sign the bill.

The bill specifies that it would preempt local laws, but would not affect federal regulations for drone operation.

(Image from file)

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