Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 3:31 pm | Fair 60º


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Governor Vetoes Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s Drone-Privacy Bill

It’s back to the drone legislation drawing board for Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, the Santa Barbara legislator who saw her privacy-related bill vetoed late Wednesday by California Governor Jerry Brown.

While the governor saw some promise in SB 142, which sought to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles by prohibiting drones from trespassing on private property without the owner’s permission, he decided this bill shouldn’t become law.

“This bill would enact trespass liability for anyone flying a drone less than 350 feet above real property without the express permission of the property owner, whether or not anyone’s privacy was violated by the flight,” Brown wrote in his reasoning.

“Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination. This bill, however, while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action. Before we go down that path, let’s look at this more carefully.”

Jackson pushed the bill as a win for rights to privacy, which is why SB 142 passed handily in the Assembly and most recently in the Senate by a 24-9 vote.

The bill would’ve clarified that rules pertaining to trespassing by a human being would also apply to remotely operated drones, creating a “no-fly zone” of 350 feet above private property, since the FAA governs the rest of airspace.

In a statement Thursday, Jackson pointed out that Oregon currently has a similar law — passed in 2013 — prohibiting drones flying over private property without permission for up to 400 feet.

“I am obviously disappointed that the governor vetoed my drone privacy legislation, SB 142, but pleased the bill launched an important discussion on our privacy and private property rights and drones,” she said.

“Obviously, the public wants some action on this issue. I hope to continue this discussion and continue working on this issue next year.”

Jackson is co-author of another drone-related bill that’s still pending in the Legislature.

SB 168, which was formerly known as SB 167, would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly operate a drone in a manner preventing or delaying efforts to extinguish a fire — punishable by up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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