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Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill to protect the ability of states and localities to restrict drone use. 

As currently drafted, the bill would preempt state and local laws relating to the operation of drones. These laws would be preempted even if FAA does not take action to address the growing problem of reckless drone use. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have enacted drone laws and 41 states have considered laws in the 2016 legislative session.

The senators’ amendment would limit strict preemption to the manufacture and design of drones, ensuring states and local governments retain significant authority to protect their communities. It would also allow states and localities to conduct enforcement activities with FAA guidance.

“Reckless drone use varies significantly in different states and even within a state, which is why we need to maintain the ability for states to set their own standards of drone operation,” said Senator Feinstein. “One in five incidents of reckless drone use nationwide has occurred in California, and densely-populated areas with critical infrastructure like Los Angeles and San Francisco need flexibility to enact rules that address their unique challenges.”

Reckless drone use varies significantly state by state. An analysis by Feinstein’s office showed that more 40 percent of incidents occurred in just three states: California, New York and Florida.

The amendment is supported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and the National Association of State Aviation Officials.