H.B. NO.



H.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the emergence and development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones, and related system technology provide numerous benefits for the people of Hawaii on many fronts.  UAVs provide both the State and the public at large with next generation tools and technologies in aerial reconnaissance and surveying for a multitude of beneficial purposes including new economic opportunities in technology, new tools to help law enforcement and emergency personnel with their critical duties, and means for state agencies and private sector entities to carry out functions at a lower cost and with less danger to their employees.

However, the legislature also recognizes there are those who may not operate UAVs in a safe and respectful manner and, as such, some minimum baseline legislation is necessary to protect the public and enshrine privacy interests.  The legislature also finds that it is imperative to safeguard critical public infrastructure and facilities, provide a mechanism for county and state agencies to deploy UAVs for beneficial purposes, and preserve lawful licensed operations within the regulatory framework permissible by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The legislature recognizes that several states have enacted baseline legislation in the areas of privacy and permissible uses by the public, law enforcement, and state and county government agencies.  This legislation has attempted to preserve freedom of the skies and the ability to develop this nascent industry into jobs and economic growth.  While current Hawaii law already provides the public with various protections, such as in the areas of privacy, the legislature finds that additional legislation is necessary to cover areas of concern for specific locations and situations as other states have done with regard to UAVs.

As in other states that have taken a similar approach, the legislature recognizes that because of the changing landscape, both in terms of federal regulation as well as the technology itself, the establishment of a permanent UAV task force is essential in order to ensure that the State is ready to react to any changes in federal law or in technology.  The legislature also finds that, along with baseline laws for the safe operation of UAVs, a permanent task force is needed not to endlessly study the issue, but rather to ensure that both the vital stakeholders as well as the public can respond to the various changes as they occur in both federal regulations as well as with the technology itself.  Rather than reformulating the task force every time a change to UAV regulation or new technological advances occur, a permanent task force on UAVs can ensure that Hawaii responds to these changes and can coordinate with the permanent task forces or working groups in other states to better harmonize state laws and create a united front in dealing with the federal government for suggested amendments to federal law.

     The legislature finds that a permanent task force is also needed because of the potential of UAV deregulation that may occur due to the federal Executive Order 13771 issued on January 30, 2017.  The legislature finds that this Executive Order requires that two federal administrative rules must be removed for every new rule established.  UAV industry stakeholders are currently lobbying the federal government to remove the UAV rules promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration in order to preserve more important rules in the areas of environmental protection and public safety.  The legislature finds that by adopting a permanent task force as other States have done, Hawaii can not only remain on the forefront of UAV regulation and promotion as compared to other states, but can also respond if federal rules regarding UAVs are removed over the next four years because of Executive Order 13771 thus leaving these areas solely subject to state jurisdiction.

     The purpose of this Act is to establish unmanned aerial vehicle laws that complement federal regulation.

     SECTION 2.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:



     §   -1  Definitions.  As used in this chapter:

     "Critical facility" means:

     (1)  A petroleum refinery;

     (2)  A petroleum or chemical production, transportation, storage, or processing facility;

     (3)  A chemical manufacturing facility;

     (4)  A water or wastewater treatment facility;

     (5)  A water development, distribution, or conveyance system, including a dam;

     (6)  An electrical generation facility, distribution facility, or substation, or electrical transmission lines of at least sixty-nine thousand volts;

     (7)  An electronic communication station or tower;

     (8)  A facility that transports or distributes natural gas;

     (9)  Any railway right-of-way;

     (10) A federal or state court;

     (11) A public safety or emergency operations center;

     (12) A federal or state correctional facility or detention center or other facility in which persons are incarcerated;

     (13) A federal or state military installation; or

     (14) A hospital with air ambulance services.

     "Flight data" means imaging or other observation recording.

     "Flight information" means flight duration, flight path, and mission objective.

     "Law enforcement agency" means any county police department, the department of public safety, and any federal, state, or county public body that employs law enforcement officers.

     "Operator" means a person using or operating an unmanned aerial vehicle.

     "Person" means a corporation, firm, partnership, association, individual, or organization or any other group acting as a unit.

     "Unmanned aerial vehicle" means any aerial vehicle that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention within or on the aerial vehicle.  The term "unmanned aerial vehicle" does not include a remote controlled airplane.

     "Unmanned aerial vehicle system" means an unmanned aerial vehicle and associated elements, including any communication links and components that control the unmanned vehicle, which are required for the operator in command to operate safely and efficiently in state airspace.

     §   -2  Prohibited acts; penalty.  (a)  No person shall operate an unmanned aerial vehicle:

     (1)  In violation of any Federal Aviation Administration regulations relating to the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, or any other applicable federal or state law;

     (2)  In a manner that interferes with law enforcement, firefighter, or emergency services operations; or

     (3)  To intentionally photograph or loiter over a critical facility without written consent of the facility.

     (b)  A violation of paragraphs      -2(a)(1) or      -2(a)(2) is a petty misdemeanor.  A violation of paragraph      -2(a)(3) is a misdemeanor, except that a second or subsequent violations is a class C felony.

     (c)  Except as otherwise provided by subsection (d) and any other law, a county shall not enact or adopt any ordinance, policy, or rule that regulates or relates to the ownership or operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle or unmanned aerial vehicle system.

     (d)  This section shall not:

     (1)  Apply to a person or entity that is authorized or allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate or use an unmanned aerial vehicle if the person's or entity's operation or use complies with the authorization granted to the person or entity or with Federal Aviation Administration rules; or

     (2)  Prohibit a county from enacting or adopting ordinances, policies, or rules on the operation or use of an unmanned aerial vehicle that is owned by the county.

     §   -3  Prohibited uses by law enforcement agencies; exceptions.  (a)  No law enforcement agency shall use an unmanned aerial vehicle to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a federal or state law without first obtaining a warrant that specifies:

     (1)  The persons that will have the power to authorize the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle;

     (2)  The location in which the unmanned aerial vehicle will operate;

     (3)  The maximum period of operation for the unmanned aerial vehicle during each flight;

     (4)  Whether the unmanned aerial vehicle will collect information or data about individuals or groups of individuals;

     (5)  The circumstances under which the unmanned aerial vehicle will be used; and

     (6)  The specific kinds of information or data the unmanned aerial vehicle will collect about individuals and how that information and data will be used, disclosed, or otherwise handled including:

          (A)  The period of time that the information or data will be retained; and

          (B)  Whether the information or data will be destroyed, including the time and method of destruction.

     (b)  Information or data obtained from an unmanned aerial vehicle used by a law enforcement agency shall not be admissible in a prosecution or proceeding within the State unless the information or data was obtained:

     (1)  Pursuant to the authority of a valid warrant that complies with section      -3(a); or

     (2)  In accordance with an exception to the warrant requirement as provided by a court of competent jurisdiction.

     (c)  Information or data obtained from the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle shall not be used in an affidavit of probable cause in an effort to obtain a warrant, unless the information or data was obtained under the circumstances described in section      -3(b).

     (d)  No law enforcement agency shall:

     (1)  Allow the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle that permits any private person to conduct surveillance on any other private person without the express informed consent of that other person or the owner of any real property on which that other person is present; or

     (2)  Use an unmanned aerial vehicle for the surveillance of the lawful exercise of constitutional rights, unless the surveillance is otherwise allowed under this section.

     (e)  Any law enforcement agency, person, or operator authorized to conduct surveillance by a court shall document all use of the unmanned aerial vehicle for surveillance.  The documentation shall include information on the duration, flight path, and mission objectives of all surveillance flights.  The flight information shall be:

     (1)  Verified to be accurate and complete by the supervising person of the law enforcement agency, person, or operator authorized by a court to conduct the surveillance; and

     (2)  Retained for five years.

     (f)  Any images or any other forms of information or data lawfully obtained under this section which are not accompanied by a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the images, information, or data contain evidence of a crime or are relevant to an ongoing investigation or trial shall not be retained for more than ninety days.

     (g)  Notwithstanding subsections (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) and in addition to the authorized activities under section      -4, a law enforcement agency may deploy an unmanned aerial vehicle for the following purposes:

     (1)  To assess and evaluate weather-related or environmental damage, erosion, flood damage, contamination issues, health issues, or any other weather-related issues necessary to protect public health and safety, prevent or mitigate property loss, or determine whether a declaration of a state of emergency is necessary; or

     (2)  To conduct training exercises related to any purpose set forth in this subsection.

     §   -4  Public agency exceptions.  Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by a public agency:

     (1)  To conduct environmental or disaster response, including but not limited to disaster relief, victim recovery or search and rescue, and monitoring, inspection, underwater repair, or structural damage assessments;

     (2)  To dispose of a suspected or actual explosive device;

     (3)  To monitor plant or animal populations;

     (4)  To conduct atmospheric testing or monitoring;

     (5)  For farming and agricultural uses;

     (6)  To review traffic congestion and conditions;

     (7)  To survey or inspect public lands and property;

     (8)  To survey the ocean and coastline; or

     (9)  For purposes specified in section     -3(g).

     §   -5  Weapons; prohibited.  (a)  No person, public agency, or law enforcement agency shall equip an unmanned aerial vehicle with a weapon or deploy an unmanned aerial vehicle that is equipped with a weapon.

     (b)  For the purposes of this section, "weapon" means any device designed to harm or incapacitate a human being by use of a projectile, explosive, biological or chemical agent, electricity, visible or invisible directed energy, radiation, or any other means."

     SECTION 3.  (a)  There is established, within the department of commerce and consumer affairs for administrative purposes only, the unmanned aerial system task force consisting of the following members:

     (1)  One member of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house, who shall serve as co-chair;

     (2)  One member of the senate appointed by the senate president, who shall serve as co-chair;

     (3)  The director of transportation, or the director's designee;

     (4)  The director of business, economic development, and tourism, or the director's designee;

     (5)  The director of commerce and consumer affairs, or the director's designee;

     (6)  The chairperson of the board of land and natural resources, or the chairperson's designee;

     (7)  The chairperson of the board of agriculture, or the chairperson's designee;

     (8)  The attorney general, or the attorney general's designee;

     (9)  A member representing the University of Hawaii appointed by the president of the university;

     (10) Two members appointed by the Hawaii state association of counties representing emergency medical services personnel and a county department of planning and permitting;

     (11) The chief of police of the city and county of Honolulu or the chief's designee;

     (12) One member representing the commercial unmanned aerial vehicle industry, appointed by the speaker of the house; and

     (13) One member representing the motion picture, film, and television industry appointed by the senate president.

     (b)  Task force members shall be appointed within ninety days of the effective date of this Act and the task force shall hold its initial meeting within thirty days of the date on which all members have been appointed.

     (c)  The task force shall study and make recommendations for the regulation of the operation and use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly referred to as drones, within the State.  As part of the study, the task force shall consider public agency, commercial, and private use of unmanned aerial vehicles; landowner and privacy rights; existing federal laws and regulations regarding unmanned aerial vehicles; laws enacted by other states regarding the use and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles; general rules, regulations, and safe practices for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles; permitting systems for unmanned aerial vehicle use; and any other issue deemed necessary by the task force

     (d)  Members of the task force shall serve without compensation.

     (e)  No member of the task force shall be made subject to chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, solely because of that member's participation as a member of the task force.

     (f)  The task force shall also work in collaboration with other state task forces or working groups on unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicle systems.

     (g)  The director of commerce and consumer affairs, in consultation with the task force, shall submit a report of the findings and recommendation of the task force, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2019.  The report shall also include any information or data resulting from the task force's collaborative efforts with other states.

     SECTION 4.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

     SECTION 5.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.


Report Title:

Hawaii State Association of Counties Package; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; Violation of Privacy; DCCA



Establishes a new chapter to regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.  Establishes prohibited uses of unmanned aerial vehicles for individuals, law enforcement agencies, and public agencies.  Provides certain exceptions for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.  Makes certain uses of an unmanned aerial vehicle a petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor and Class C felony for a second of subsequent violations.  Establishes a task force.  (HB314 HD1)




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