130th Ohio General Assembly
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Am. H. B. No. 207  As Reported by the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee
As Reported by the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
Am. H. B. No. 207


Representative Damschroder 

Cosponsors: Representatives Adams, J., Beck, Becker, Hood, Huffman, Stebelton, Thompson, Mallory, DeVitis, Green 



A BILL
To amend sections 2743.58 and 2744.02 and to enact section 4561.50 of the Revised Code to limit the use of drones by law enforcement agencies and prohibit the defense of sovereign immunity with regard to a prohibited use of drones.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1.  That sections 2743.58 and 2744.02 be amended and section 4561.50 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 2743.58.  The prosecuting attorney and any officer or employee of the office of the prosecuting attorney or of the law enforcement agency shall be immune from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred as the result of providing information on criminally injurious conduct and related matters to the attorney general, unless such information was obtained in violation of division (A) of section 4561.50 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 2744.02.  (A)(1) For the purposes of this chapter, the functions of political subdivisions are hereby classified as governmental functions and proprietary functions. Except as provided in division (B) of this section, a political subdivision is not liable in damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by any act or omission of the political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision in connection with a governmental or proprietary function.
(2) The defenses and immunities conferred under this chapter apply in connection with all governmental and proprietary functions performed by a political subdivision and its employees, whether performed on behalf of that political subdivision or on behalf of another political subdivision.
(3) Subject to statutory limitations upon their monetary jurisdiction, the courts of common pleas, the municipal courts, and the county courts have jurisdiction to hear and determine civil actions governed by or brought pursuant to this chapter.
(B) Subject to sections 2744.03 and 2744.05 of the Revised Code, a political subdivision is liable in damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by an act or omission of the political subdivision or of any of its employees in connection with a governmental or proprietary function, as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this division, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent operation of any motor vehicle by their employees when the employees are engaged within the scope of their employment and authority. The following are full defenses to that liability:
(a) A member of a municipal corporation police department or any other police agency was operating a motor vehicle while responding to an emergency call and the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct;
(b) A member of a municipal corporation fire department or any other firefighting agency was operating a motor vehicle while engaged in duty at a fire, proceeding toward a place where a fire is in progress or is believed to be in progress, or answering any other emergency alarm and the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct;
(c) A member of an emergency medical service owned or operated by a political subdivision was operating a motor vehicle while responding to or completing a call for emergency medical care or treatment, the member was holding a valid commercial driver's license issued pursuant to Chapter 4506. or a driver's license issued pursuant to Chapter 4507. of the Revised Code, the operation of the vehicle did not constitute willful or wanton misconduct, and the operation complies with the precautions of section 4511.03 of the Revised Code.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in sections 3314.07 and 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the negligent performance of acts by their employees with respect to proprietary functions of the political subdivisions.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in section 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by their negligent failure to keep public roads in repair and other negligent failure to remove obstructions from public roads, except that it is a full defense to that liability, when a bridge within a municipal corporation is involved, that the municipal corporation does not have the responsibility for maintaining or inspecting the bridge.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in section 3746.24 of the Revised Code, political subdivisions are liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the negligence of their employees and that occurs within or on the grounds of, and is due to physical defects within or on the grounds of, buildings that are used in connection with the performance of a governmental function, including, but not limited to, office buildings and courthouses, but not including jails, places of juvenile detention, workhouses, or any other detention facility, as defined in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code.
(5) In addition to the circumstances described in divisions (B)(1) to (4) of this section, a political subdivision is liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property when civil liability is expressly imposed upon the political subdivision by a section of the Revised Code, including, but not limited to, sections 2743.02, division (C) of section 4561.50, and section 5591.37 of the Revised Code. Civil liability shall not be construed to exist under another section of the Revised Code merely because that section imposes a responsibility or mandatory duty upon a political subdivision, because that section provides for a criminal penalty, because of a general authorization in that section that a political subdivision may sue and be sued, or because that section uses the term "shall" in a provision pertaining to a political subdivision.
(C) An order that denies a political subdivision or an employee of a political subdivision the benefit of an alleged immunity from liability as provided in this chapter or any other provision of the law is a final order.
Sec. 4561.50.  (A) No law enforcement agency, or any person acting on behalf of a law enforcement agency, shall operate a drone in order to obtain evidence or any other information, except in circumstances in which any of the following apply:
(1) The United States secretary of homeland security has determined that credible intelligence indicates that there is high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific person or organization and the operation of the drone is necessary to address the threat of that terrorist attack;
(2) The law enforcement agency has obtained a search warrant pursuant to section 2933.21 of the Revised Code and the operation of the drone is in accordance with that warrant;
(3) The operation of a drone by a law enforcement agency, or any person acting on behalf of the law enforcement agency, is based upon a reasonable suspicion that swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence.
(B) No information collected while operating a drone, and no evidence derived therefrom, shall be used as evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding before any court, agency, or other authority of the state or a political subdivision of the state if the information was obtained in violation of this section or if the information was obtained pursuant to an authorized use under divisions (A)(1) to (3) of this section but was beyond the scope of that authorized use.
(C) Any person aggrieved or adversely affected by an alleged violation of division (A) of this section may commence a civil action for damages, including reasonable attorney's fees, against any person, the state, or the political subdivision alleged to be in violation of this section. If a violation has occurred, sovereign immunity shall not apply to the proceeding or limit or bar recovery of damages.
(D) No drone shall be equipped with any weapon of any kind.
(E) As used in this section:
(1) "Drone" means any aircraft to which all of the following apply:
(a) The aircraft does not carry a human operator;
(b) The aircraft uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;
(c) The aircraft can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely.
(2) "Law enforcement agency" means a police department, the office of a sheriff, the state highway patrol, a county prosecuting attorney, the attorney general, or a state or local governmental body that enforces criminal laws and that has employees who have a statutory power of arrest.
Section 2.  That existing sections 2743.58 and 2744.02 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
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