Bill Text: TX HB912 | 2013-2014 | 83rd Legislature | Enrolled


Bill Title: Relating to images captured by unmanned aircraft and other images and recordings; providing penalties.

Status: (Passed) 2013-06-14 - Effective on 9/1/13 [HB912 Detail]

Download: Texas-2013-HB912-Enrolled.html
 
 
  H.B. No. 912
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to images captured by unmanned aircraft and other images
  and recordings; providing penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  This Act shall be known as the Texas Privacy Act.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle B, Title 4, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 423 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
         Sec. 423.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "image" means
  any capturing of sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet,
  visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other
  conditions existing on or about real property in this state or an
  individual located on that property.
         Sec. 423.002.  NONAPPLICABILITY. (a)  It is lawful to
  capture an image using an unmanned aircraft in this state:
               (1)  for purposes of professional or scholarly research
  and development by a person acting on behalf of an institution of
  higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code,
  including a person who:
                     (A)  is a professor, employee, or student of the
  institution; or
                     (B)  is under contract with or otherwise acting
  under the direction or on behalf of the institution;
               (2)  in airspace designated as a test site or range
  authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose
  of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national
  airspace;
               (3)  as part of an operation, exercise, or mission of
  any branch of the United States military;
               (4)  if the image is captured by a satellite for the
  purposes of mapping;
               (5)  if the image is captured by or for an electric or
  natural gas utility:
                     (A)  for operations and maintenance of utility
  facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system
  reliability and integrity;
                     (B)  for inspecting utility facilities to
  determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and
  after construction of such facilities;
                     (C)  for assessing vegetation growth for the
  purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements; and
                     (D)  for utility facility routing and siting for
  the purpose of providing utility service;
               (6)  with the consent of the individual who owns or
  lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image;
               (7)  pursuant to a valid search or arrest warrant;
               (8)  if the image is captured by a law enforcement
  authority or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting
  under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement authority:
                     (A)  in immediate pursuit of a person law
  enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to
  suspect has committed an offense, not including misdemeanors or
  offenses punishable by a fine only;
                     (B)  for the purpose of documenting a crime scene
  where an offense, not including misdemeanors or offenses punishable
  by a fine only, has been committed;
                     (C)  for the purpose of investigating the scene
  of:
                           (i)  a human fatality;
                           (ii)  a motor vehicle accident causing death
  or serious bodily injury to a person; or
                           (iii)  any motor vehicle accident on a state
  highway or federal interstate or highway;
                     (D)  in connection with the search for a missing
  person;
                     (E)  for the purpose of conducting a high-risk
  tactical operation that poses a threat to human life; or
                     (F)  of private property that is generally open to
  the public where the property owner consents to law enforcement
  public safety responsibilities;
               (9)  if the image is captured by state or local law
  enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or
  otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state
  authorities, for the purpose of:
                     (A)  surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other
  damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be
  declared;
                     (B)  preserving public safety, protecting
  property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully
  declared state of emergency; or
                     (C)  conducting routine air quality sampling and
  monitoring, as provided by state or local law;
               (10)  at the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of
  hazardous materials;
               (11)  for the purpose of fire suppression;
               (12)  for the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or
  well-being is in imminent danger;
               (13)  if the image is captured by a Texas licensed real
  estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing
  of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in
  the image;
               (14)  of real property or a person on real property that
  is within 25 miles of the United States border;
               (15)  from a height no more than eight feet above ground
  level in a public place, if the image was captured without using any
  electronic, mechanical, or other means to amplify the image beyond
  normal human perception;
               (16)  of public real property or a person on that
  property;
               (17)  if the image is captured by the owner or operator
  of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of
  inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related
  facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct
  surveillance on an individual or real property located in this
  state;
               (18)  in connection with oil pipeline safety and rig
  protection; or
               (19)  in connection with port authority surveillance
  and security.
         (b)  This chapter does not apply to the manufacture,
  assembly, distribution, or sale of an unmanned aircraft.
         Sec. 423.003.  OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO
  CAPTURE IMAGE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses an
  unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately
  owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct
  surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
         (c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that
  the person destroyed the image:
               (1)  as soon as the person had knowledge that the image
  was captured in violation of this section; and
               (2)  without disclosing, displaying, or distributing
  the image to a third party.
         (d)  In this section, "intent" has the meaning assigned by
  Section 6.03, Penal Code.
         Sec. 423.004.  OFFENSE: POSSESSION, DISCLOSURE, DISPLAY,
  DISTRIBUTION, OR USE OF IMAGE. (a) A person commits an offense if
  the person:
               (1)  captures an image in violation of Section 423.003;
  and
               (2)  possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or
  otherwise uses that image.
         (b)  An offense under this section for the possession of an
  image is a Class C misdemeanor. An offense under this section for
  the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image is a
  Class B misdemeanor.
         (c)  Each image a person possesses, discloses, displays,
  distributes, or otherwise uses in violation of this section is a
  separate offense.
         (d)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section for
  the possession of an image that the person destroyed the image as
  soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in
  violation of Section 423.003.
         (e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section for
  the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image
  that the person stopped disclosing, displaying, distributing, or
  otherwise using the image as soon as the person had knowledge that
  the image was captured in violation of Section 423.003.
         Sec. 423.005.  ILLEGALLY OR INCIDENTALLY CAPTURED IMAGES NOT
  SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE.  (a)  Except as otherwise provided by
  Subsection (b), an image captured in violation of Section 423.003,
  or an image captured by an unmanned aircraft that was incidental to
  the lawful capturing of an image:
               (1)  may not be used as evidence in any criminal or
  juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding;
               (2)  is not subject to disclosure, inspection, or
  copying under Chapter 552; and
               (3)  is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other
  means of legal compulsion for its release.
         (b)  An image described by Subsection (a) may be disclosed
  and used as evidence to prove a violation of this chapter and is
  subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion
  for that purpose.
         Sec. 423.006.  CIVIL ACTION.  (a)  An owner or tenant of
  privately owned real property located in this state may bring
  against a person who, in violation of Section 423.003, captured an
  image of the property or the owner or tenant while on the property
  an action to:
               (1)  enjoin a violation or imminent violation of
  Section 423.003 or 423.004;
               (2)  recover a civil penalty of:
                     (A)  $5,000 for all images captured in a single
  episode in violation of Section 423.003; or
                     (B)  $10,000 for disclosure, display,
  distribution, or other use of any images captured in a single
  episode in violation of Section 423.004; or
               (3)  recover actual damages if the person who captured
  the image in violation of Section 423.003 discloses, displays, or
  distributes the image with malice.
         (b)  For purposes of recovering the civil penalty or actual
  damages under Subsection (a), all owners of a parcel of real
  property are considered to be a single owner and all tenants of a
  parcel of real property are considered to be a single tenant.
         (c)  In this section, "malice" has the meaning assigned by
  Section 41.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
         (d)  In addition to any civil penalties authorized under this
  section, the court shall award court costs and reasonable
  attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
         (e)  Venue for an action under this section is governed by
  Chapter 15, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
         (f)  An action brought under this section must be commenced
  within two years from the date the image was:
               (1)  captured in violation of Section 423.003; or
               (2)  initially disclosed, displayed, distributed, or
  otherwise used in violation of Section 423.004.
         Sec. 423.007.  RULES FOR USE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.  The
  Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules and guidelines for
  use of an unmanned aircraft by a law enforcement authority in this
  state.
         Sec. 423.008.  REPORTING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. (a) Not
  earlier than January 1 and not later than January 15 of each
  odd-numbered year, each state law enforcement agency and each
  county or municipal law enforcement agency located in a county or
  municipality, as applicable, with a population greater than
  150,000, that used or operated an unmanned aircraft during the
  preceding 24 months shall issue a written report to the governor,
  the lieutenant governor, and each member of the legislature and
  shall:
               (1)  retain the report for public viewing; and
               (2)  post the report on the law enforcement agency's
  publicly accessible website, if one exists.
         (b)  The report must include:
               (1)  the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used,
  organized by date, time, location, and the types of incidents and
  types of justification for the use;
               (2)  the number of criminal investigations aided by the
  use of an unmanned aircraft and a description of how the unmanned
  aircraft aided each investigation;
               (3)  the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used
  for a law enforcement operation other than a criminal
  investigation, the dates and locations of those operations, and a
  description of how the unmanned aircraft aided each operation;
               (4)  the type of information collected on an
  individual, residence, property, or area that was not the subject
  of a law enforcement operation and the frequency of the collection
  of this information; and
               (5)  the total cost of acquiring, maintaining,
  repairing, and operating or otherwise using each unmanned aircraft
  for the preceding 24 months.
         SECTION 3.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to the capture, possession, disclosure, display, distribution, or
  other use of an image that occurs on or after the effective date of
  this Act.
         SECTION 4.  The provisions of this Act or the applications of
  those provisions are severable as provided by Section 311.032(c),
  Government Code.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 912 was passed by the House on May 10,
  2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 128, Nays 11, 2 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 912 on May 21, 2013, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; that the House adopted the conference committee report on
  H.B. No. 912 on May 26, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 140, Nays
  4, 2 present, not voting; and that the House adopted H.C.R. No. 217
  authorizing certain corrections in H.B. No. 912 on May 27, 2013, by
  the following vote: Yeas 145, Nays 3, 2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 912 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 17, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 29, Nays
  1; at the request of the House, the Senate appointed a conference
  committee to consider the differences between the two houses; that
  the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.B. No. 912
  on May 26, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 26, Nays 5; and that
  the Senate adopted H.C.R. No. 217 authorizing certain corrections
  in H.B. No. 912 on May 27, 2013, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor       
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