ASSEMBLY, No. 3929

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 14, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  CHARLES MAINOR

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblyman  DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.

District 13 (Monmouth)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Handlin

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits the use of drones by law enforcement for surveillance purposes.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by law enforcement and supplementing Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes. 

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1. a.  As used in this act:

     “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aerial vehicle that uses aerodynamic forces to propel the vehicle and does not carry a human operator, and which is capable of flying autonomously or being piloted remotely and is capable of conducting surveillance as defined by this section; and

     “Surveillance” means the act of monitoring, observing, photographing, listening to, or making a recording of a person or group of persons or their movements, activities and communications.

     b.  No State, local, or interstate law enforcement agency or officer shall utilize an unmanned aerial vehicle to conduct surveillance or to gather any evidence or engage in any other law enforcement activity within this State. 

     c.  The provisions of subsection b. of this section prohibiting the utilization of an unmanned aerial vehicle by any State, local, or interstate law enforcement agency or officer for surveillance purposes within this State shall not apply if the United States Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle is necessary to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization.

     d.  Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle by any State, local, or interstate law enforcement agency or officer when so ordered by the Governor during any declared disaster or emergency to monitor, observe, photograph, or record any natural or manmade disaster or emergency, or the affects thereof, that endangers the public health, safety, or wellbeing of the citizens and residents of this State or any of its subdivisions.

 

     2.  In addition to any other right of action or recovery otherwise available under the laws of this State, any State, local, or interstate law enforcement agency or officer who knowingly violates the provisions of section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be liable to a plaintiff whose image was taken or who was the subject of surveillance, or who was the subject of any other law enforcement activity conducted in violation of this section.  The plaintiff may bring a civil action in the Superior Court, and the court may award actual damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred, and any other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

 

     3.  Any evidence derived from the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle in violation of section 1. of P.L.    c.    (C.     )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution. 

 

     4.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, by any State, local, or interstate  law enforcement entity for surveillance purposes in this State.

     Under the provisions of the bill, no State, local, or interstate law enforcement agency or officer may utilize a drone for surveillance purposes within New Jersey unless the United States Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle is necessary to counter a high risk or likelihood of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization.

     The bill does, however, permit State, local, or interstate law enforcement agencies to utilize unmanned aerial vehicles during declared emergencies and disasters, and when ordered by the Governor, to monitor, observe, photograph, and record natural and man made disasters or emergencies, and the affects of such disasters or emergencies, that threaten the public health, safety and wellbeing of the residents of New Jersey or any of its subdivisions.

     Further, the bill provides that any person whose image was taken, who was the subject of surveillance, or any other law enforcement activity in violation of the bill’s provisions may bring a civil action against the law enforcement agency or officer in the Superior Court.  The court may award actual damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred, and any other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

     Finally, the bill provides that any evidence illegally derived from the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle may not be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution.