On Monday, the House Special Committee on Homeland Security in Jefferson City unanimously passed several combined pieces of legislation designed to limit the use of drones by both private citizens and law enforcement.
The new bill, created from House Bills 178, 179, and 401, aims to limit the use of drones below 400 feet over private property.
There will be some exceptions, like for the army, for universities doing research, for professional surveillance projects, and so on.
Law enforcement agencies would also be prohibited from gathering information using drones without obtaining a warrant unless in emergency situations such as hostage crises or fires.
The new legislation is a response to several concerns raised during a public hearing in January, including those of farm owners who sought to limit the ability of drones to fly over their property and lobbyists for the agriculture industry.
Gene and Tamara Chastain, farm owners, reportedly testified that hunters using drones to herd deer off their land frightened and scattered their livestock.
Stricter drone regulations increase penatly
The new legislation also increases the penalty for a violation of the existing law that prohibits the use of drones above open-air facilities, such as sports fields or outdoor theaters, from an infraction to a class A misdemeanor.
Opponents of the new legislation, however, expressed concerns about the state government's authority to broadly regulate drone use by private citizens.
The proposed legislation, however, will not limit the activities of any aircraft flown above 400 feet above ground.
The bill also bans unmanned aircraft from being flown above prisons and mental health facilities in accordance with existing state law.
The stricter drone regulations are in direct conflict with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that has exclusive authority to regulate aviation safety, the efficiency of the navigable airspace, and air traffic control, among other things.
In a July 2018 statement, the FAA reiterated that, “State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths or altitudes, or the navigable airspace.”
States and local governments are, however, allowed to regulate aircraft landing sites according to the FAA.
Let us know in the comments below what you think of the stricter drone regulations.
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