NPR Story
3:44 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Texas Bill To Outlaw Personal Drone Use

Since Fronteras Desk interviewed Chris Anderson on his company 3D Robotics, which makes personalized drones, he wrote a highly talked about opinion piece in The New York Times about his company's success in collaborating with Tijuana.

He hopes 3D Robotics will help drones evolve beyond its current stigma. Anderson sees drones as the first step to a fleet crop dusters or mail carriers.

A lawmaker in Texas would argue otherwise.

State Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, is pushing a bill to prevent any hobbyist plan from flying in the Lone Star sky.

The Texas Tribune explains,

Gooden's House Bill 912, which is being sponsored in the Senate by John Whitmire, D-Houston and chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee, would make it a Class C misdemeanor to use an “unmanned vehicle or aircraft” to capture video or photographs of private property without the consent of the property’s owner or occupant. It would be an additional penalty to possess, display or distribute an image or video captured by an illegally operating drone.

The bill is facing an outcry from among the many voices in the state, including the University of Texas. The university spends millions on drone research. Austin’s KXAN talked with Todd Humphreys, a professor and researcher in the engineering department.

Humphreys says the bill would put a stop to much of the innovative studies done by hobbyist and researchers in the state.

"It would be a real hindrance to our program to be curtailed like this," said Humphreys.

An opposite bill, in Arizona, aims to limit how police use drones.

In the bill, individuals using drones cannot "monitor other persons inside their homes or places of worship or within the closed confines of their property or other locations where a person would have an expectation of privacy."

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