Louisiana’s State Senate passed two bills this week imposing heavy restrictions on aerial drone photography – hours later, one of those bills was thrown out.
The House Criminal Justice Committee grounded Senate Bill 356 with a vote of 7-4. The bill intended to ban the use of unmanned aircraft “flying over anything termed critical infrastructure,” according to an article in New Orleans City Business.
Senate Bill 356 required drone users to obtain explicit permission to photograph or video-record various types of highways, mass transportation systems, water treatment facilities, and other structures that are within public view.
The second bill, the Deterrence of Reconnaissance Over Noncriminal Entities (DRONE) Act, remains in consideration by the House. Also known as Senate Bill 330, the DRONE Act was written by Louisiana Senator Dan Claitor and it specifically criminalizes those using unmanned aircraft to “capture an image of an individual or privately owned immovable property with the intent to conduct surveillance.”
However, the DRONE Act has many provisions in its text that includes allowing law enforcement, farm laborers, and energy industry workers to use aerial drones to assist them with their jobs. An earlier version of the bill had been thrown out and later revived; if this bill passes, photographers and videographers using drones in the state of Louisiana could face expensive fines and possible jail time.