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S.F. No. 3072 - Judiciary and Public Safety Modifications (as amended by SS3072A-1)
Author: Senator Warren Limmer
Prepared By: Kenneth P. Backhus, Senate Counsel (651/296-4396)
Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
Date: April 30, 2020


SF 3072, as amended by the SS3072A-1 amendment, regulates law enforcement’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles; removes statutory criteria for publication of court of appeals opinions; requires a government entity to obtain a search warrant prior to accessing electronic communication information; clarifies the applicability of overlapping laws relating to court-issued warrants to the electronic device location-tracking warrant law; and modifies the scope of the location tracking warrant law.

Sections 1-2; 5. Law enforcement use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Requires a law enforcement agency to obtain a search warrant for the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV” or “drone”) unless an exception applies. Exceptions from the warrant requirement include use of a UAV: during or in the aftermath of an emergency; over a public event where there is heightened risk; to counter the risk of a terrorist attack; to prevent the loss of life and property in natural or man-made disasters; to conduct a threat assessment; to collect information over a public area if there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity; for crash-reconstruction purposes; for officer training or public relations purposes; and for a non-law-enforcement purpose at the request of a government entity.

Provides limitations on the use of UAVs, including prohibitions on the use of facial recognition technology and data collection on public protests. Requires a law enforcement agency to document each use of a UAV, create a written policy, and collect public comment.

Classifies UAV data as private or nonpublic data subject to certain limitations. Requires deletion of data within seven days unless it is active criminal investigative data. Prohibits evidence collected in violation of this section from being admitted in criminal, civil, or administrative proceedings against a data subject. Provides remedies for a violation of this section.

Requires service of a warrant upon persons named in the warrant within 90 days of the court unsealing the warrant. Requires that a warrant be filed with the court administrator within ten days of expiration. Requires reports from law enforcement agencies, the Commissioner of Public Safety, the judiciary, and the state court administrator related to the use of UAVs.

Effective date. August 1, 2020, except that law enforcement agencies must complete their written policies by February 15, 2021.

Section 3. Publication criteria for court of appeals opinion. 

Removes a requirement that the court of appeals only publish decisions that: establish a new rule; overrule a prior decision; provide important procedural guidelines in interpreting statutes or administrative rules; or significantly aid in the administration of justice. Removes requirements related to how attorneys may cite unpublished opinions in their legal briefs and memoranda.

Effective date. August 1, 2020, and applies to cases filed with the court of appeals on or after that date.

Sections 4; 7-12; 18. Search warrant required for electronic communication information.

Requires that a government entity obtain a search warrant prior to accessing electronic communication information. Provides exceptions for emergencies and consent. Addresses notice to the subject of the information and the filing, sealing, and reporting on warrants under these provisions. Defines terms. Of note, “electronic communication information” is limited to the contents of electronic communications and the precise or approximate location of the sender or recipient at any point during the communication.

Sections 6; 13. Electronic device location tracking warrants.

Clarifies the applicability of overlapping laws relating to court-issued warrants to the electronic device location-tracking warrant law. Location-tracking warrants have unique restrictions and requirements under statute. Section 6 amends the statute concerning the sealing and disclosure of a warrant for wire, electronic, or oral communications to distinguish and exempt location-tracking warrants from the general requirements. Section 13 amends the statute concerning the sealing of a warrant for a pen register, trap and trace device, or mobile tracking device to distinguish and exempt location-tracking warrants from the requirements relating to those other devices.

Effective date. The day following final enactment.

Sections 14-17. Scope of location-tracking warrants expanded.

Under current law, a government entity may not obtain the location information of an electronic device without a tracking warrant.  These sections expand the scope of location tracking warrants to include “unique identifiers.”  A unique identifier is defined as any numeric or alphanumeric string that is associated with a single entity or account within an electronic communication application or service.

Effective date. Unless noted above, this bill is effective August 1, 2020.

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