Press Release from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2013
Contact: Liz White
512-463-0130

Senator Craig Estes Votes Texas Privacy Act out of his Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security
Senator Craig Estes Votes Texas Privacy Act out of his Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security

Austin — The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security voted out HB 912 today. The bill would make the use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft to take an image for the purpose of monitoring or surveillance a Class C misdemeanor. The bill also creates a misdemeanor offense for the possession, disclosure or distribution of images captured by the unlawful use of an unmanned vehicle or aircraft.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security and sponsor of the bill, Senator Craig Estes, said, "This is an important bill to the people of Texas because the use of drones is rapidly expanding here. As drone use continues to increase, it is critical that we have safeguards in place to protect the privacy and property rights of Texans. The safety of Texans and their interests has been, and always will, be my greatest concern."

The bill either doesn't apply to or exempts from criminal penalties the use of unmanned vehicles or aircraft to capture images for a wide range of purposes, including executing a valid arrest of search warrant, emergencies, public safety, hazardous material spills, fighting fires, rescuing a person in imminent danger, use by the federal aviation administration or by any branch of the United States military.

Senator Estes further said, "While it is vitally important to protect the privacy and property rights of Texans from unwarranted intrusion, it is equally and crucial that those interests be balanced against public safety. As long as we have safeguards in place, I am confident that drones can be used to enhance public safety without rolling back the privacy and property rights of Texans.

Estes serves nearly 820,000 constituents across Senate District 30 which includes all of Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties and parts of Collin and Denton counties.

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