Legislation being readied on the use of drones

[private]A legislative study committee that looked at the growing use of drones in Georgia will likely draft a bill that would tighten up on when and where these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be flown.

However, state registration of drones will not be recommended, according to the study committee’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville).

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to do three things,” Tanner said. “Protect the privacy of property owners, protect public safety, and work for ways to stay out in front of this growing industry by creating a state commission to advise and promote the industry.”

Drones are expected to be a popular gift during the holiday season, with industry estimates that as many as 400,000 of the flying machines will be purchased for recreational use.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is drafting regulations for the federal registration of all drones that weigh more than half a pound, with the rules expected to be finalized by next summer.

Since the federal rulemaking procedure is now underway, Tanner said his committee will not recommend that state registration also be required.

“We’ll recommend monitoring what the FAA does for registration, but not try to duplicate that in Georgia,” Tanner said. “North Carolina has required some registration and it’s had an ill effect on the drone industry in that state, so we don’t want that to occur in Georgia.”

The draft legislation could make it illegal to use drones to shoot photos or videotape when flying over private property without the owner’s permission, prohibit the “weaponizing” of drones, prohibit their use around the state capitol and football stadiums, and prohibit their use for hunting or fishing, Tanner said.

The study committee will recommend the creation of a state commission that would review the long-term prospects of the industry and promote the development of drone-related businesses.

“We will look to encourage our universities and technical colleges to get involved in this industry and educate the public on this ever-changing technology,” Tanner added, possibly by offering courses for the training and certification of drone operators.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: drones , Kevin Tanner , legislative study committee , registration , restrictions