Battle Over Drone Regulations Brewing Between Feds & Local Governments

Senate Debates Contentious Provision Against State Drone Laws





” The Senate is debating contentious legislation aimed at preventing states and cities from adopting drone laws amid an ongoing battle pitting the federal government and drone industry against local lawmakers.

  The bill provoked a fight because dozens of states adopted laws on subjects such as banning weapons on remote-controlled aircraft or requiring police to issue a warrant to use drones for surveillance. The Federal Aviation Administration, however, contends it alone governs national airspace.

  The U.S. Code states the federal government has complete sovereignty over airspace. To reinforce that position, pending Senate legislation governing the FAA initially said that no state could enact a law about the “design, manufacture, testing, licensing, registration, certification, operation, or maintenance of an unmanned aircraft system, including airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements, purpose of operations, and pilot, operator, and observer qualifications, training, and certification.”

  But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has proposed to drop that language. Her state has been a leader in developing local drone laws after complaints dealing with privacy and safety, such as high-flying drones grounding planes that fight wildfires.”


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