Gov. Deal vetoes drone legislation

Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed legislation that would have put in new state regulations of drones.

Deal in a veto statement wrote that he is appreciative of the work on the matter "and for realizing the impact this aircraft has on the future of our state," but added that he believes Georgia should first allow the Federal Aviation Administration to complete its federal rules and regulations for drone use.

Deal announced that in the interim he plans to issue an executive order to create a commission that would propose state-level guidelines until new FAA regulations are released.

The bill, HB 779 sponsored by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, would have clarified privacy protections that apply to drones, created a drone commission and banned weaponized drones. It included language to preempt local ordinances regulating the operation or testing of drones that are adopted after April 1, 2016, and would have limited the use of drones by law enforcement for gathering evidence in a private place.

Deal wrote: "Signing this bill prior to the release of the FAA guidelines would create a layer of state regulation that may be vitiated by future FAA action and would also grow state government by creating a wholly new quasi-legislative body to produce future rules and regulations."

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"Such layers of potentially inconsistent rules could create a climate contrary to what the business community, the science and technology community, and legislative leaders sought to create by drafting this legislation," the governor wrote.

The governor also urged local governments "to refrain from enacting ordinances that would regulate drone activity until the FAA has acted as well."


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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.