RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Worries about drone operators transporting weapons and cigarettes to prisoners are leading lawmakers to make it a crime to steer the small flying machines near jails and prisons.

The House Transportation Committee approved legislation Tuesday making it illegal to fly an "unmanned aircraft system" within 500 feet of a state or federal correctional facility or up to 250 feet above the location without proper consent. It would be a low-grade felony with a fine if the drone is used to deliver weapons or contraband. It's otherwise a misdemeanor. Law enforcement could confiscate and sell the drone.

Rep. Allen McNeill of Randolph County says several states have passed similar laws and he knows of two situations involving drones flying at North Carolina prisons. The measure now goes to another committee.