The increasing popularity of drones has created new security concerns for businesses, government facilities and private citizens. On Wednesday, Gov. Fallin signed House Bill 2599 to restrict flight of unmanned aircraft over locations and businesses that are completely fenced in or have signs to prevent intruders. Sen. Ron Sharp is the principal Senate author of the bill that he says will help better protect the privacy and security of Oklahoma businesses and facilities.
“What was introduced as a fun toy has now become a nuisance and security threat for companies and government facilities like refineries, electric power generation facilities, gas processing sites, water treatment plants, dams and prisons,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Typically, people are innocently trying to see their surroundings, which can include these locations, but to the owners it’s a breach of privacy and security and has to be stopped. The public needs to understand that it’s dangerous and irresponsible to fly over such locations and violators will now be penalized.”
HB 2599 restricts flights of drones over “critical infrastructure” less than 400 feet above ground level or past their fence lines. The bill also requires signage on such property forbidding flight of drones without site authorization. Violators can be found civilly-liable for damages to the property, environment or human health.
Government, law enforcement, the owner of the critical infrastructure facility and operators authorized by the FAA to conduct operations over that airspace are exempt under the new law.
Rep. Justin Wood is the House author of HB 2599, which will go into effect November 1, 2016.