Texas and Idaho join the growing list of a dozen states considering state laws aimed at legislating the use of unmanned aircraft systems (‘Drones’). The number of states either developing or actively pursuing UAS legislation includes…
PL 112-95 tasks the FAA with submitting to Congress and making public a 5-year road map for the introduction of civil UAS into the national airspace system. This report is due to Congress by February 14, 2013, and is to be updated annually. Public comments made recently by FAA officials indicate the report will include a comprehensive multi-agency stakeholder approach to addressing the privacy concerns relating to the use of unmanned aircraft in the civil environment.
However, as the deadline for submitting this comprehensive plan approaches, many states are taking the initiative to instill privacy and civil liberties protections from ‘Drone’ surveillance through state level legislation. The twelve states listed above all have legislative initiatives in progress, most of them primarily address the use of UAS for persistent surveillance by law enforcement and government entities. However, some legislation such as Oregon’s Senate Bill 71 has troubling language that could have unintended consequences for aeromodeling enthusiasts.
The inordinate attention given this issue and the media’s exploitive use of the term ‘Drone’ is fueling a growing hysteria regarding potential abuse of UAS technology. This pseudo frenzy is resulting in a kneejerk reaction by politicians to address public concern. This was most recently illustrated by the actions of the Charlottesville, VA City Council declaring the city to be a “No Drone Zone” and associating the domestic use of unmanned aircraft to the militarized drones deployed in the war theatre and the “drone wars” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
AMA’s Government Relations Team is working to evaluate each piece of legislation being introduced and will provide an assessment of the legislation through the Government Relations advocacy page on the AMA website. In areas where potential detrimental impact on model aviation is identified, AMA is taking steps to address our concern with the sponsors of the bill(s) and the legislative bodies. Please check the AMA website frequently for updates on legislative issues that may affect your local community and for guidance from the AMA on how to best address your concerns.
In order to react as quickly as possible we need your help in making us aware and keeping us informed. The AMA is asking its members to remain vigilant about any potential legislation you may become aware of in your state and local area, and report this to AMA’s Government Relations Team.
Working together we can ensure that model aviation will remain safe from possibly well-intentioned but poorly written legislation. Any information that you believe would be helpful should be emailed to the AMA Government Relations Team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
AMA Government Regulatory Affairs