U.S. Senator Tom Cotton and Senator Mike Lee of Utah are pushing legislation that would let states regulate local drone use.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) anticipates there will be up to 4 million drones in our country by 2020, but this rising industry will stay grounded until people have proper guidelines for everyday drone use.
The bill, titled the Drone Federalism Act, would recognize the right of states and local communities to govern drones within a specified zone of authority, the airspace under 200 feet. The FAA would still be responsible for the overall safety of the skies. But at this low altitude, state and local governments would be able to set guidelines for the “reasonable time, manner, and place” of drone flights.
The bill also preserves the rights of every American by reaffirming the long held doctrine that owners control the immediate 200 feet of airspace above their property. The FAA would be prevented from authorizing the operation of an unmanned aircraft in the immediate reaches of airspace above a property without permission of the owner. Hobbyists would also be required so secure permission from the owner before flying a drone within 200 feet above a private held property.