ASSEMBLY, No. 4128

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED APRIL 4, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  DAVID BAILEY, JR.

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  WILLIAM B. SAMPSON, IV

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblyman  MICHAEL VENEZIA

District 34 (Essex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Simmons, Assemblyman Guardian, Assemblywomen Swift, Reynolds-Jackson, Assemblymen Hutchison and Miller

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits operation of drone over school under certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning unmanned aircraft systems and amending P.L.2017, c.315.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-28) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly or intentionally operates as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27) an unmanned aircraft system as defined in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27) in a manner that endangers the life or property of another.  In making this determination, the court shall consider the standards for safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems prescribed by federal law or regulation.

     b.    (1) A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly or intentionally creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or security of a correctional facility by operating an unmanned aircraft system on the premises of or in close proximity to that facility without license or privilege to do so.

     (2)   A person commits a crime of the third degree if he knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, or gather information about, a correctional facility without license or privilege to do so.

     For purposes of this subsection, "correctional facility" means a jail, prison, lockup, penitentiary, reformatory, training school, or other similar facility within the State of New Jersey.

     c.     A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly or intentionally operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that interferes with a first responder who is actively engaged in response or actively engaged in air, water, vehicular, ground, or specialized transport.

     For purposes of this subsection "first responder" means a law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer firefighter, paid or volunteer member of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance, or rescue squad association, or any other individual who, in the course of his employment, is dispatched to the scene of a motor vehicle accident or other emergency situation for the purpose of providing medical care or other assistance.

     d.    A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system or uses an unmanned aircraft system to take or assist in the taking of wildlife.

     e.     A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he operates an unmanned aircraft system while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant's blood.

     f.     It shall be a violation of any restraining order issued by the court pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47 (C.2C:12-10.2), section 3 or 4 of P.L.2015, c.147 (C.2C:14-15 or C.2C:14-16), section 12 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28), section 4 of P.L.1999, c.334 (C.2C:35-5.7), or any other court order restraining contact with a person or location, for a person subject to that order to knowingly operate an unmanned aircraft system to fly within a distance of a person or location that would violate that restraining order.

     g.    Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other law to the contrary, a conviction under this section shall not merge with a conviction of harassment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:33-4, stalking pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10), invasion of privacy pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2003, c.206 (C.2C:14-9), obstructing administration of law or other governmental function pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-1, introducing contraband pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-6, contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 which constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense, or any other criminal offense, even if any other conviction involves the use of an unmanned aircraft system, nor shall the other conviction merge with a conviction under this section.

     h.    (1) A person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system below 250 feet over the building or grounds of any school for the purpose of conducting surveillance or gathering information without the prior written authorization of the superintendent or chief school administrator.

     (2)   A person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft system below 250 feet over the building or grounds of any school and the unmanned aircraft system remains above or hovers above the building or grounds of the school without the prior written authorization of the superintendent or chief school administrator.

     (3)   A person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person uses the building or grounds of a school as a takeoff or landing area for an unmanned aircraft system.

     As used in this subsection:

     “Operate” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27).

     “School” means a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school within this State offering education in grades kindergarten through 12, or any combination of grades, at which a child may legally fulfill compulsory school attendance requirements.

     “Unmanned aircraft system” shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 1 of P.L.2017, c.315 (C.2C:40-27).

     i.     Nothing in subsection h. of this section shall prohibit the authorized use, in compliance with applicable federal rules and regulations, of an unmanned aircraft system by a public employee or a public entity, or by a first responder in the performance of official duties.

     For purposes of this subsection "first responder" means a law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer firefighter, paid or volunteer member of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance, or rescue squad association, or any other individual who, in the course of his employment, is dispatched to the scene of a motor vehicle accident or other emergency situation for the purpose of providing medical care or other assistance.

(cf:  P.L.2017, c.315, s.2)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill prohibits the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, commonly referred to as a drone, over a school under certain circumstances.

     Specifically, under the provisions of this bill, a person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person knowingly operates a drone below 250 feet over the building or grounds of any school for the purpose of conducting surveillance or gathering information without the prior written authorization of the superintendent or chief school administrator.

     In addition, under the bill, a person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person knowingly operates a drone below 250 feet over the building or grounds of any school and the unmanned aircraft system remains above or hovers above the building or grounds of the school without the prior written authorization of the superintendent or chief school administrator. 

     Further, a person commits a disorderly persons offense if the person uses the building or grounds of a school as a takeoff or landing area for a drone.

     A disorderly person offense is punishable by up to six months imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

     The bill defines, “school” as a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school within this State offering education in grades kindergarten through 12, or any combination of grades, at which a child may legally fulfill compulsory school attendance requirements.

     Finally, the bill provides that the bill’s provisions do not prohibit the authorized use, in compliance with applicable federal rules and regulations, of a drone by a public employee, or a public entity, or by a first responder in the performance of official duties.