Legal Corner: How do astronauts vote while in space?

Video: Legal Corner - How do astronauts vote while in space?

QUESTION: I am buying a drone for my child for Christmas and I live close to an airport. Are there any laws or requirements about flying drones close to airports?

ANSWER: Yes, there are both Federal and State requirements. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires you to file your name, home address and your email address as a start; You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register; you will be issued an ID number must be displayed on your drone at all times. The state of LA also regulates the use of drones and specifically the law states that it is unlawful to use the drones to conduct surveillance without the prior written consent of the owner of the targeted facility. There are numerous other regulations listed in the response on the website. Just follow the links provided.

THE LAW: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will need to file your name, home address and your email address as a start; you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport and you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. These will include an identification number for your aircraft. You must have this number displayed on your drone at all times. All aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, and less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms, must be registered. You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register and, effective December 21st, 2015, all newly purchased or made drones must be registered before their first flight the FAA says, you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport. In 2012 the FAA enacted the Modernization and Reauthorization Act which requires hobbyist drone operators, meaning residential, to contact air traffic control and/or airport management if they are operating within a 5-mile radius of any local airport. https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=22615

Louisiana Revised Statutes 2:2….Regulation of unmanned aerial systems and unmanned aircraft systems; preemption A. Subject to the provisions of Subsection C of this Section and except as otherwise provided by law: (1) The state shall have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate all unmanned aircraft systems and all unmanned aerial systems (2) State law shall supersede and preempt any rule, regulation, code, or ordinance of any political subdivision or other unit of local government. https://www.911security.com/learn/airspace-security/drone-laws-rules-and-regulations/louisiana

QUESTION: I think that everyone should be awarded the opportunity to vote. I believe every vote counts. My question is, how do astronauts get to vote if they are in space?

ANSWER: The “voting process starts a year before launch when the astronauts select which elections (local/state/federal) that they want to participate in while in space. Then, six months before the election, astronauts are provided with a standard form: the ‘Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request — Federal Post Card Application.’” When astronauts get their absentee ballots, their address is listed as "low-Earth orbit. Mission Control at Johnson Space Center beams a digital version of these absentee ballots up to International Space Station crewmembers,

who fill them out and send them back down. The ballots then go directly from Mission Control to the voting authorities.

THE LAW: https://www.space.com/34643-how-nasa-astronauts-vote-from-space.html and https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/how-do-astronauts-vote-space

QUESTION: I was talking to my neighbor about melting down some old gold coins and making one big gold nugget from the coins. He told me I could get in serious trouble for that? Is there a Louisiana Law against this?

ANSWER: Your neighbor is correct, you could get in serious trouble. However, the law is not a state law, it is a federal law against altering coins used as currency. Amongst other things, whoever impairs, diminishes any of the coins which have been coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. It is also illegal to “debase” coins minted by the U.S. government, meaning to shave some of the metal off and make the money less valuable. That crime is punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison.

THE LAW: The section of federal law that makes mutilating coins a crime is Title 18, Section 331, which reads: “Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or “Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened --”Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” A separate section of Title 18 makes it illegal to “debase” coins minted by the U.S. government, meaning to shave some of the metal off and make the money less valuable. That crime is punishable by fines and up to 10 years in prison.

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