senate Bill S7418A

Establishes the offense of directing a laser at an aircraft

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 14 / May / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 11 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 11 / Jun / 2014
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1303
  • 16 / Jun / 2014
    • AMENDED ON THIRD READING (T) 7418A
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • SUBSTITUTED BY A8236C

Summary

Establishes the crimes of directing a laser at an aircraft in the second and first degree; makes such crimes a class A misdemeanor or a class E felony, respectively.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8236C
Versions:
S7418
S7418A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยงยง240.76 & 240.77, Pen L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S4083, S4083

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7418A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to the
offense of directing a laser at an aircraft

PURPOSE: To prohibit the directing the beam of a laser at an aircraft or
in its flight path, and provides that such offense will either be a
class A misdemeanor or a class E felony.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends the penal law by adding new sections 240.76
and 240.77. New section 240.76 of the penal law creates the crime of
directing a laser at an aircraft in the second degree. A person is guil-
ty of such crime when, with the intent to disrupt safe air travel, he or
she directs the beam of a laser onto a specific aircraft in the special
aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or in the immediate vicinity
of an aircraft and such beam exceeds the limits set by the FAA for the
FAA specified laser flight zone where the aircraft was located: and a
pilot in the illuminated aircraft files a laser incident report with the
FAA. This bill would also define the term "laser" as any device designed
or used to amplify electromagnetic radiation by stimulated emission that
emits a beam. This section does not prohibit aiming a laser at an
aircraft by an authorized individual in the conduct of research and
development or flight test operations conducted by an aircraft manufac-
turer, the FAA, or any other person authorized by the FAA to conduct
such research and development or flight test operations or members or
elements of the United States Department of Defense or Homeland Security
acting in an official capacity; or an individual in an emergency situ-
ation using a laser to attract the attention of an aircraft for bona
fide rescue purposes: or an individual whose laser operations have been
submitted to and reviewed by the FAA. Directing a laser at an aircraft
in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

New section 270.77 of the penal law creates the crime of directing a
laser at an aircraft in the first degree. A person is guilty of direct-
ing a laser at an aircraft in the first degree when he or she commits
the crime of directing a laser in the second degree and thereby causes a
significant change of course or other serious disruption to the safe
travel of an aircraft that threatens the physical safety of the
aircraft's passengers or crew. Directing a laser at an aircraft in the
first degree is a class E felony.

JUSTIFICATION: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said there were
2,836 reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft during calendar year
2010. This is over seven incidents every single night, and is 185%
greater than 2009's figure of 1,527 reported incidents.

The increase in reports is likely due to a number of factors, including
the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the Internet, higher
power levels that enable lasers to hit aircraft at higher altitudes,

increased pilot reporting of laser strikes, and the introduction of
green lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers.

The use of lasers targeting aircrafts poses serious risks to pilots and
their passengers, particularly during critical operations such as land-
ings and takeoffs. At its worst, a strong laser beam flash, akin to a
camera flash, could cause temporary loss of vision or reduced night
vision. Eye injuries have even been reported by some pilots. One such
example occurred on February 20, 2011 when a Southwest Airlines flight
with more than 130 people on board was making its final approach to the
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. While the
plane was at an altitude of about 2,000 feet, someone on the ground
aimed a laser at it, sending a bright beam into the cockpit as the
pilots were preparing to land. The aircraft arrived safely but the pilot
and co-pilot reportedly suffered eye injuries.

To date, no aircraft accidents have been attributed to lasers aimed at
cockpits, but anything that interferes with a pilot's ability to do his
or her job is a public safety matter that needs to be taken seriously.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The first of November after it shall have become law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 7418--A
    Cal. No. 1303

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              May 14, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. SANDERS, GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes -- commit-
  tee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee  on  Rules  --
  ordered  to  a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining
  its place in the order of third reading

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to the offense of directing a
  laser at an aircraft

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. The penal law is amended by adding two new sections 240.76
and 240.77 to read as follows:
S 240.76 DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
  A PERSON IS GUILTY OF DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IN  THE  SECOND
DEGREE  WHEN,  WITH INTENT TO DISRUPT SAFE AIR TRAVEL, HE OR SHE DIRECTS
THE BEAM OF A LASER:
  1.  ONTO A SPECIFIC AIRCRAFT INTENDING TO THEREBY DISRUPT OR INTERFERE
WITH SUCH AIRCRAFT IN THE SPECIAL AIRCRAFT JURISDICTION  OF  THE  UNITED
STATES; OR
  2.  IN  THE  IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF AN AIRCRAFT IN THE SPECIAL AIRCRAFT
JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES, AND:
  (A) THE CALCULATED OR MEASURED BEAM IRRADIANCE ON THE AIRCRAFT, OR  IN
THE  IMMEDIATE  VICINITY  OF THE AIRCRAFT, EXCEEDS LIMITS SET BY THE FAA
FOR THE FAA-SPECIFIED LASER FLIGHT ZONE (NORMAL, SENSITIVE, CRITICAL, OR
LASER-FREE) WHERE THE AIRCRAFT WAS LOCATED; AND (B) A PILOT IN THE ILLU-
MINATED AIRCRAFT FILES A LASER INCIDENT REPORT WITH THE FAA.
  3. AS USED IN THIS SECTION:
  (A) THE TERM "LASER" SHALL MEAN ANY DEVICE DESIGNED OR USED TO AMPLIFY
ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION BY STIMULATED EMISSION THAT EMITS A BEAM; AND
  (B) THE TERM "FAA" SHALL MEAN THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION.
  4. THIS SECTION DOES  NOT  PROHIBIT  DIRECTING  A  LASER  BEAM  AT  AN
AIRCRAFT, OR IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF AN AIRCRAFT, BY:
  (A)  AN  AUTHORIZED INDIVIDUAL IN THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOP-
MENT OR FLIGHT TEST OPERATIONS CONDUCTED BY  AN  AIRCRAFT  MANUFACTURER,

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06065-14-4

S. 7418--A                          2

THE  FAA,  OR  ANY  OTHER  PERSON  AUTHORIZED BY THE FAA TO CONDUCT SUCH
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OR FLIGHT TEST OPERATIONS; OR
  (B)  MEMBERS OR ELEMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR
THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ACTING IN AN  OFFICIAL
CAPACITY  FOR  THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, OPERATIONS, TESTING
OR TRAINING; OR
  (C) AN INDIVIDUAL IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION USING A LASER  TO  ATTRACT
THE ATTENTION OF AN AIRCRAFT FOR BONA FIDE RESCUE PURPOSES; OR
  (D)  AN  INDIVIDUAL  WHOSE LASER OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED TO AND
REVIEWED BY THE FAA, WHEN:
  (I) THE FAA HAS ISSUED A LETTER NOT OBJECTING TO THE LASER USE; AND
  (II) THE LASER IS OPERATED IN CONFORMITY WITH THE FAA SUBMISSION.
  DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR.
S 240.77 DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
  A PERSON IS GUILTY OF DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT  IN  THE  FIRST
DEGREE  WHEN  HE  OR  SHE  COMMITS  THE CRIME OF DIRECTING A LASER AT AN
AIRCRAFT IN THE SECOND DEGREE IN VIOLATION OF  SECTION  240.76  OF  THIS
ARTICLE AND THEREBY CAUSES A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF COURSE OR OTHER SERI-
OUS  DISRUPTION  TO  THE  SAFE  TRAVEL OF AN AIRCRAFT THAT THREATENS THE
PHYSICAL SAFETY OF THE AIRCRAFT'S PASSENGERS OR CREW.
  DIRECTING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IN THE FIRST  DEGREE  IS  A  CLASS  E
FELONY.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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