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California UA Task Force and 400′ No-Fly Ceiling

So far, three measures concerning commercial drone use have been introduced in the current legislative session. AB 14 (Waldron) would create the Unmanned Aircraft Task Force. The task force would be responsible for formulating a comprehensive plan for state regulation of unmanned aircraft. The task force would be required to submit, among other things, a comprehensive policy draft and suggested legislation pertaining to unmanned aircraft to the Legislature and the Governor on or before January 1, 2018.

SB 142 (Jackson), introduced on January 26, 2015, prohibits the unauthorized use of unmanned aerial vehicles in airspace directly over private property but below the 400 foot altitude clearly regulated by the FAA. “If a drone invades your private property, it is an extension of the person sending the drone,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

Finally, Assembly member Campos has reintroduced a measure similar to one vetoed by the Governor in the last legislative session that would specify warrant requirements for law enforcement seeking to use drones. Assembly member Campos stated, “drones are here to stay and my bill will be a vehicle for finding the right balance.” It may be that without the context of a pending election, the Governor will sign the measures should either of them be presented to him. We will track the progress of these bill and report on any new developments.