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House Sets Rules for Unmanned Aircraft Systems


HB 255 follows UAS Task Force recommendations

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today followed recommendations from the Legislative Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and passed House Bill 255, by Representative Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, which clearly defines the rules for law enforcement’s use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and permits the University of Alaska to develop a UAS operations training program.

“Setting the parameters for law enforcement use of UAS before police agencies begin using this tool is imperative,” Hughes said. “Alaskans need to know that their privacy will be protected when the tool is employed. At the same time, Alaskans deserve the benefits of appropriate uses that can save lives and costs.”

HB 255 strictly specifies that search warrants must be issued before gathering evidence for a criminal investigation using a UAS. The bill also requires law enforcement to:   

  • Maintain a record of each flight, including the time, date, and purpose of the flight, and the identity of the authorized official;
  • Establish an auditable flight record system, including the documentation of a change in a flight time record;
  • Establish a method of notifying the public of the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, unless notifying the public would endanger the safety of a person;
  • Provide for community involvement in the development of the policies;
  • Ensure that the flight of an unmanned aircraft system be for a public purpose;
  • Obtain any authorization, permit, or certificate required by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the unmanned aircraft system;
  • Allow operation only by trained and certified pilots and crews;
  • Dispose of images that are not required as part of an investigation, for prosecution or training.

HB 255 only addresses law enforcement UAS use and University of Alaska UAS training. Rep. Hughes is also sponsoring House Concurrent Resolution 15 to extend the Task Force to address other issues related to UAS use as this new technology and industry emerges.

HB 255 passed the House 37-1 and now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

For more information, contact Rep. Hughes’ office at 907-465-3743.

The Legislative Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) was formed under House Concurrent Resolution No. 6 to review regulations and guidance regarding UAS and provide recommendations for a comprehensive state policy for unmanned aircraft that protects privacy and allows the use of unmanned aircraft systems for public and private applications.


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