No Drones over Prisons and Jails: Senate Approves Bill Co-Authored by Senator Patricia Bates

Friday, September 4, 2015

The State Senate today sent Governor Jerry Brown bipartisan legislation co-authored by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) to make it a misdemeanor to fly a drone over a prison or county jail in California. Recent incidents nationwide of drones attempting to deliver porn, drugs, guns and other contraband prompted the legislation.

“Drones offer many fantastic uses for society, but dropping porn, drugs and guns into our prisons and jails is not one of them,” said Bates. “The bill simply makes it clear that flying unauthorized drones over California’s correctional facilities is unacceptable and illegal.”

Senate Bill 170 would provide that a person who knowingly and intentionally operates a drone on or above the grounds of a state prison or a jail without permission is guilty of a misdemeanor. The bill provides exemptions for jail and prison employees.

The bill is authored by Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) and co-authored by Bates, Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) and Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Glendale). It is supported by public safety organizations such as the California Police Chiefs Association and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Bates also supported Senate Bill 271, which is authored by Senator Gaines, that safeguards children from kidnapping, harassment, stalking or a host of other potential harm by making it illegal to fly drones over K-12 public schools during school hours. In addition, the bill makes it illegal to capture images of the campus during school hours or during extracurricular activities. The Senate approved SB 271 today and is headed to Governor Brown’s desk.