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

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2013
Contact: Liz White

Estes Sends Drone Bill to Governor's Desk
HB 912 provides needed safeguards for privacy and property rights of Texans

Austin — The House and Senate gave final approval to HB 912 tonight and it now goes to the desk of Governor Rick Perry. The bill makes the misuse of an unmanned 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 aircraft.

"This is an important bill to the people of Texas because the use of drones is rapidly expanding," said Senator Craig Estes. Estes continued, "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 is, and always will, be my greatest concern."

The bill exempts from criminal penalties the use of unmanned aircraft for the execution of valid arrest or search warrants, emergencies, public safety, hazardous material spills, fighting fires, finding a missing person, and use by the federal aviation administration or by the United States military.

Senator Estes stated, "While it is vitally important to protect the privacy and property rights of Texans from unwarranted intrusion, it is equally crucial that those interests be balanced with public safety. This act legislates safeguards and I am confident it guarantees that drones used in limited circumstances may enhance public safety without infringing on 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.