If you don’t keep with current drone news, you may not have heard about the new bill being proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein. This bill would essentially take regulation powers away from the FAA and hand them over to local and state governments.
In the past, we’ve supported Senator Feinstein, as she has challenged the FAA on some of their regulations. In 2015, for example, she told the FAA that they were not in charge of drones due to their slippery identification as aircraft. Prior to the administration of the Part 107, for example, Feinstein insisted that the FAA should have no authority over drones and their pilots.
What is interesting, though, is that this proposed law comes immediately after John Taylor won his case against the FAA. Ironically, Feinstein’s bill seems like it could have been developed to make us like the FAA and want them to maintain authority over drone regulation.
After all, to take authority away from the FAA would totally negate all of their operations. Whatever progress the FAA has made toward making the skies after and building up the reputation of the drone community.
The problem with Feinstein’s bill is that much of the language used to outline what it would do is convoluted and contradictory. This is not to say that many laws aren’t convoluted and contradictory, but this particular bill leaves open-ended the question of who exactly would govern drone airspace and how the administration of these laws would be executed.
For example, the bill specifically posits itself as “an act that should not, in any way, be construed to diminish or expand the effects of the authority of the FAA,” at the same time that it contains specific rules which contradict that statement. This bill would either take away FAA authority if passed or leave it in their hands if rejected.
Additionally, any attempt at organizing city, county, and state governments to enforce drone regulations would surely fail. The sheer amount of collaborative labor it would take for these governments to work together would be exhausting, and we can’t imagine that they’re looking to do it.
If this were to pass, you have to wonder how governments could possibly codify these laws and provide the resources necessary to educate people and enforce the laws at hand. Even if they wanted to enforce these laws, who are the police officers that are going to spend their time doing it?
Ultimately, this haphazard bill would do nothing but confuse people. Please reach out to your Senators and inform them about the detrimental nature of this bill.
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