Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced the Drone Integration and Zoning Act, a bill that would give states, counties, cities, and local tribal governments the right to manage low altitude airspace. Specifically, the legislation would preclude the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from authorizing UAS operations under 200 feet when flying above private property without permission from that property’s owner. Sen. Lee first introduced the Drone Integration and Zoning Act in 2019. No other senator has cosponsored this legislation and the bill has never moved beyond introduction in the legislative process.
After introducing the bill, Sen. Lee stated, “The FAA cannot feasibly or efficiently oversee millions of drones in every locality throughout the country,” and noted that “the reason that the states have sovereign police powers to protect the property of their citizens is because issues of land use, privacy, trespass, and law enforcement make sense at the state and local level. The best way to ensure public safety and allow this innovative industry to thrive is to empower the people closest to the ground to make local decisions in real time and that is exactly what the Drone Integration and Zoning Act does.”
AMA is engaging members of Congress and their staffs on a host of issues, including this bill. Although we remain cautiously optimistic that the Drone Integration and Zoning Act will lack the Congressional support needed to pass, AMA will continue to advocate that this approach is untenable and problematic for the model aviation community.
For updates on the status of this amendment, visit AMA’s Government Affairs blog, or reach out directly to the Government Affairs office at (765) 287-1256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.