Government Affairs Update, May 17, 2018
Over the past few months, the AMA Government Affairs Team has been hard at work at the federal, state and local level to protect and preserve our longstanding hobby. Just last month, the House of Representatives passed its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. While much of what we fought for was included in this bill – including the preservation of Section 336, also known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft — there are also some provisions in the bill that concern us and would create further ambiguity for the recreational community. Our team has been busy preparing for the next step in the legislative process.
We want to thank the thousands of AMA members who participated in our “Call to Action” in April to let Congress know about the importance of protecting our hobby. Your efforts during this critical time made a significant impact, and we appreciate your support.
Here is a glimpse at some of our most recent activities:
Federal Government Relations
Our team has attended several meetings with legislators on protecting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft as the Senate prepares its own version of the FAA reauthorization bill. In addition, we met with stakeholders in the manned and unmanned aircraft communities to gather support for our hobby. Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a long-term reauthorization bill that will strengthen the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and affirm the role of community-based organizations in managing the model aircraft community.
We also recently met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to discuss possible solutions for eight of our clubs that have lost flying sites on USACE maintained properties.
State and Local Government Relations
At the local level, AMA continues to engage with legislators on problematic bills in various states. Recently, we have reached out to local communities in Oceanside, California and Greenwood Village, Colorado to assist with legislative issues. We also provided guidance to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland to help draft a practical UAS ordinance.
Other Recent Activities
In April, members of AMA’s Government Affairs Team attended the 64th Toledo Show: R/C Model Expo in Toledo, Ohio, North America’s largest and longest running R/C model expo. The team spoke with AMA members about flying model aircraft safely and answered questions regarding the latest on federal, state and local regulations.
In addition, AUVSI held their annual XPONENTIAL show May 1-3 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. While there, the AMA team engaged with industry stakeholders concerning the latest innovations and discussed how to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace.
As part of International Drone Day, the Minnesota Department of Transportation held their first annual Minnesota Drone Day in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Minnesota Drone Advocacy Council. AMA President Rich Hanson spoke at the event, providing information to the community on the latest drone regulations.
As the FAA reauthorization legislative process progresses, it is important to remember that it may take months for Congress to arrive at a consensus. We may ask for your help to alert lawmakers on the importance of the hobby during this time, so please continue to monitor your emails, social media and modelaircraft.org/gov for the latest information. You can view how legislation that includes the Special Rule for Model Aircraft is moving through Congress here.
Thank you again for your support!
AMA Government Affairs Team