Florida’s Battle Over DeSantis’ Chinese Drone Ban

lawmakers have allocated $25 million to aid in replacing their aerial drone fleets following Governor Ron DeSantis' administration's Chinese drone ban, that prohibits local governments from using Chinese-made drones earlier this year. 

Law enforcement agencies can now apply for funding to replace these drones, which will subsequently be handed over to the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida for security risk analysis.

“We want to start over with drones to make sure they're securely safe,” stated Senator Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, the Senate's appropriations chairperson.

This agreement aims to resolve a rare disagreement between DeSantis and Florida police, who have strongly opposed the administration rule implemented last month, banning state agencies and local governments from using non-approved drones due to potential security risks.

Police from across Florida argued in March that the Chinese-made drones, particularly those manufactured by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), were not a security risk and were more cost-effective and technologically superior to the American- and French-made alternatives on DeSantis' original approved list.

The legislature's solution, however, has drawn criticism from GOP lawmaker Sen. Tom Wright, R-New Smyrna Beach, who earlier this year pledged to give police more time to replace their fleets

Chinese drone ban will cost taxpayers $200M

Wright expressed concern over the $25 million plan, stating that it was a waste of taxpayer money. He estimated that police and local governments have spent at least $200 million on Chinese-made drones, with replacement costs likely to double due to recent price hikes by American manufacturers.

Despite the perceived security risks, Wright emphasized that the benefits to law enforcement agencies far outweigh the concerns.

“I'm very frustrated. I'm very concerned about our law enforcement officers,” Wright said.

The new drone regulations could potentially benefit America's emerging , including , one of the four companies initially approved by the DeSantis administration. Skydio's lobbyists met with administration officials in 2021, according to records.

Other states, such as , have also imposed restrictions on foreign drones. However, Arkansas allows police to continue using their drones until 2027.

While Florida senators initially considered permitting police to use their DJI drones “through their life expectancy,” they ultimately decided against it following a “vigorous discussion” with the governor's office, according to Broxson. 

Wright claimed that it was the governor's office that opposed the idea.

“I was told specifically the governor's office took it out,” Wright said.

DeSantis' office did not respond to requests for comment, according to The Lawton Constitution.

Discover more from DroneXL

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Proposed legislation threatens your ability to use drones for fun, work, and safety. The Drone Advocacy Alliance is fighting to ensure your voice is heard in these critical policy discussions.Join us and tell your elected officials to protect your right to fly.

Drone Advocacy Alliance
Follow us on Google News!

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

Copyright © DroneXL.co 2024. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from DroneXL.co is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us first.

FTC: DroneXL.co is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 3597

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.