Government Relations Update – April 2017
2017 is shaping up to be another busy year on the legislative front. At the federal and local level, some legislators are discussing bills that could harm our hobby. We take these legislative proposals seriously and wanted to share an update on our efforts to protect recreational flying. While there are some challenges ahead, with your help, we are confident the model aircraft hobby will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Over the last four months, AMA’s direct contact with policymakers and work with the media has helped defeat legislation in Washington (H.B. 1049), Montana (S.B. 170), and Hawaii (H.B. 314, S.B. 710, S.B. 632, S.B. 1051, and S.B. 454). The involvement of AMA members on the ground played a critical role in this effort. In Montana and Oklahoma, local members publicly voiced their concerns to elected officials, which was key to our success in pushing back against these bills.
In other instances, we’ve worked to ensure proposed legislation includes exemptions for AMA members who fly safely and responsibly. In Utah, for example, our efforts throughout the legislative session led to S.B. 111 being removed from the governor’s desk in order for policymakers to go back and add an exemption for those operating under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
At the federal level, Congress is working on a FAA reauthorization bill that will set the responsibilities and priorities for the agency. This legislation might include changes to Special Rule for Model Aircraft, also known as Section 336, which protects our members from new and overbearing regulations. As you may remember, AMA helped usher the Special Rule for Model Aircraft into law in 2012.
AMA is already closely working with lawmakers to strengthen and protect the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the next FAA reauthorization bill. And as we approach summer and fall, we will provide additional updates and progress reports on this effort.
Working with the UAS Industry
In tandem with our advocacy efforts, AMA is collaborating with UAS industry leaders to improve safety while also offering our expertise to governing bodies through committee work and task groups. These efforts are often behind the scenes, but are just as important for protecting our hobby, improving safety in the airspace, and addressing problematic legislation.
Because AMA members have a strong safety record and respected community-based programming, AMA earned a seat on the Steering Committee of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST). This team includes more than 40 industry leaders, manufacturers, and stakeholders who are working together on safety issues. In addition, AMA continues its work on the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee.
How to Help
AMA will always advocate and protect our longstanding hobby, and we encourage all our members to participate in the process. If legislation is introduced in your state or city, please let us know by contacting the Government Relations team at 765-287-1256. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media, read the Model Aviation magazine and visit www.modelaircraft.org/gov.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
AMA Government Relations