The Golden State continued to stir up fresh headlines this week as one of the most activist in drone legislation.
On Wednesday, State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced a new bill that would limit drone flights near public and private property. The move comes after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the Santa Barbara legislator’s last attempt at UAV regulation in September, killing a controversial bill that would have prohibited the flying of drones lower than 350 feet over private property without the owner’s permission.
Jackson’s new bill (SB 868) would:
- “Limit drone use within 500 feet of critical infrastructure, including bridges, power plants, hospitals, water delivery systems, and oil refineries; within 1,000 feet of a heliport, or within 5 miles of an airport, without permission;
- Limit drone use within the immediate airspace of private property without permission;
- Limit drone use over state parks, state wildlife refuges, or within 500 feet of the State Capitol without a permit;
- Prohibit the weaponizing of drones, ie, the turning of drones into flying guns or bombs;
- Prohibit the reckless operation of drones or using drones to interfere with aircraft, regardless of whether they are being used to fight fires or transport people; and
- Require commercial drone operators to obtain liability insurance.”
Although the Governor’s office has yet to respond to Jackson’s new bill, Brown disagreed with the content, if not intent, of her previous bill: “This bill … while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action,” the governor stated in his response. “Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination. Before we go down that path, let’s look at this more carefully,” he added.
In a press release, Jackson defended her bill, stating, “irresponsible or even dangerous operators and their drones should not be able to threaten our safety, our private property, the critical infrastructure we need to keep our state running or our beloved public parks and wildlife refuges. Nearly every day, we hear of another potentially dangerous or destructive incident involving a drone. We cannot wait for disaster to strike before setting clear rules that provide certainty for everyone while keeping the public safe.”
Of course, the latest bill may be struck down by the federal government following the release of a Fact Sheet by the FAA last month, The FAA warned that the federal agency retained sole “authority to regulate the areas of airspace use, management and efficiency, air traffic control, safety, navigational facilities, and aircraft noise at its source.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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