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Gaines Will Reintroduce Drone Bills

Nevada County’s State Senator hasn’t given up on getting bills passed imposing greater restrictions on drone use. Three bills sponsored by Ted Gaines were vetoed by Governor Brown in October, although, Gaines says, they were passed unanimously in the Senate and Assembly. When the Legislature reconvenes in January, he says he’ll introduce six bills that also cover a couple of more areas of concern. One restricts drones from flying over critical infrastructure…

click to listen to Senator Gaines

Another new measure would provide criminal penalties for someone using drones to violate a restraining order. Gaines says drone ownership is rapidly increasing….

click to listen to Senator Gaines

Gaines will once again push for increasing fines for drone interference with firefighting and emergency response activities and granting civil immunity to any responder who damages a drone in the course of such activities. Another measure would ban them over schools and from delivering contraband at prisons. In his veto message, Brown said there are already laws available to deal with any problems addressed by the bills.


December 12, 2015

Stephen Mann

Response to Ted Gaines:

The state cannot give immunity from a federal law: 18 U.S. Code §32 - Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities

Your bill would also violate another federal law:

49 USC § 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
(a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
(1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

Only the FAA may regulate flight.
Only the FAA may create a no-fly-zone

Your previous bill was to push your anti-drone agenda and does nothing to promote safe operations of these aircraft

State and local governments have considered legislation that purports to regulate drone flight, but if challenged in court, any such laws would be considered preempted by the federal government.

There is absolutely no factual evidence to support the fear and ignorance around small personal drones. There have been more than a million hours of flight of small drones, yet there is not one verifiable report of a drone crash in the US that resulted in a serious injury as defined by the NTSB to someone not connected to the flight. Not one. (A Band-Aid is not a serious injury- See CFR 49 §830.2). It is a safety rate that all other segments of aviation would be jealous to have. There is also not one verifiable report of a collision between a small drone and a manned aircraft. Not one. An FAA executive speaking to a nervous audience of helicopter operators at HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando (March 2015) and said that while there's never been a reported contact between an sUAS and a civilian aircraft, the military has some experience in that regard. In all cases the aircraft was virtually unscathed while the UAS was "smashed to pieces."

Small UAVs do not pose any significant risk to anyone. "Dangerous" and "invasion of privacy" concerns are ridiculous, driven by paranoia borne of ignorance and propagated by lazy, irresponsible reporting as well as grandstanding fact-challenged politicians. Where's the blood and mayhem to justify the perception that small personal drones are a threat to public safety?

The panic, here, is completely out of any sort of proportion to reality.

December 13, 2015

Tom Graham

I suggest the bill include tools to solve the problem in addition to restrictions. Revenue to develop proximity alerts, drone ID transponders, and temporary no fly zone signals that would prevent unlicensed drones from approaching an area, that could, for example, be added to fire trucks. Could this be miss-used by an over-reaching government? Certainly. But we must continue to think constructively on this, as drones are now part of our life.

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