Drone Pre-emption Moving In Senate

A bill that preempts the authority of county and municipal governments to regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as “drones,” is moving through the Senate.

MACo opposed the bill, SB 370, pointing out that the bill prohibits a county government from enacting reasonable laws and regulations to protect the privacy rights of its residents. The bill could also interfere with civil operations, including life-saving law enforcement and fire protection operations currently allowed through special certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Amendments offered require study of policies that should be implemented to ensure any concerns are addressed specific to county governments, specifically mentioning county law enforcement, fire services, and emergency medical services. The bill still preempts any county regulatory authority, however.

For more information, read the bill and the amendments here, and see our previous post on Conduit Street.