The unofficial launch of the Texas Legislature’s 85th session got underway Monday with the prefiling of bills. One UAS bill was filed by Representative Mando Martinez. This bill proposes to eliminate the 25-mile border exception contained in the Texas Privacy Act. You can see the full text of the proposed bill here.
We covered the basics of the Texas Privacy Act in a previous post. As a reminder, the Texas Privacy Act generally prohibits using a drone to capture images of private property. The Act contains a number of exceptions to this general rule. These exceptions allow law enforcement use of drones and permit various other commercial uses.
One of the exceptions also created a “border exception.” This exception carved out a 25-mile zone along the Texas-Mexico border. As the law is currently written, the privacy measures that apply throughout the rest of the state do not apply to the 25-mile border zone.
To create consistency in the law, and in an attempt to avoid the patchwork regulation that sometimes applies to UAS operators, our law firm filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas Privacy Act’s border exception. This lawsuit is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas – Laredo Division.
The bill filed by Rep. Martinez yesterday proposes to eliminate the border exception, creating consistency across the state in the application of the Texas Privacy Act. This bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
We will keep you updated on the latest developments during the upcoming legislative session.