A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: UPDATED -Law proposed in Illinois to criminalize laser pointing

An Illinois state representative introduced HB0167, which amends the state criminal code to make “discharging a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft” a Class A misdemeanor. Republican Dave Winters of Shirland is a pilot who wants to give state police jurisdiction over the crime.

HB0167 is similar to HR 386, a bill currently in the U.S. House of Representatives. One difference is that the state bill criminalizes using any “laser” that illuminates a cockpit, while the federal bill only applies to “laser pointers”. Another difference is that HB0167 contains two of the three exceptions in HR 386. While it provides an exemption for R&D and flight tests, and for the Defense and Homeland Security Departments, the Illinois bill does not provide any exemption for lasers used to signal in emergency rescue situations.

The full text of the bill, along with the status and other information, is available from the Illinois General Assembly.

From the
Chicago Tribune (Jan. 26 2011) and St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Feb. 17 2011).

UPDATED - June 15 2011: The bill was passed February 24 by the Illinois House and May 17 by the Senate, and has been sent to the Governor for his signature. From the Illinois General Assembly status page on HB0167.

UPDATE 2 - July 21 2011: The Governor signed the bill. It becomes Public Law 097-0153 and will take effect January 1 2012. From the Chicago Tribune.