In April 2019, Navy Capt. Jonathan R. Townsend, commanding officer of the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, said that drone incursions have prompted growing worries about safety and security at Texas military facilities. It was reported that camera-equipped drone was found on the taxiway of the Fort Worth base in January 2018, the second drone sighting over a period of several months. The Promark Drone P70-CW had a built-in Wi-Fi signal and the ability to stream, record and photograph live footage.

“Was it a recreational drone operator or was it somebody who had some other potential ill intent for my installation?”, the commander said. Drones, which have surged in popularity, have played a number of vital civic roles, including search and rescue, but they have also drawn headlines for unwanted incursions over airports, sports events and other venues. Drone activity over Gatwick Airport in London in December resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, disrupting the travel plans of more than 140,000 passengers.

FAA regulations already restrict drone activity above military bases but proposed statute would add another layer of protection by enabling state and local law enforcement officers to enforce drone restrictions.

The bill adds military installations to a list of previously designated “critical infrastructure facilities” that include prisons, jails, wastewater facilities, telecommunications, oil and gas facilities, power plants and other utilities.

The statute prohibits drones from flying over or coming in contact with the designated facilities, or coming close enough to cause a disruption in its normal operations.

First offense violations constitute a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Subsequent offenses would be Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.