Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Proposed Federal Rules For Drones

FAA Is Currently Accepting Public Comment On Outlined Regulations

Don McCollough (CC-BY)

Wisconsin lawmakers met on Wednesday to learn about the impact of proposed federal drone regulations on the state.

In February, the Federal Aviation Administration announced proposed rules that would allow the commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones. The safety regulations for small, unmanned aircraft systems under 55 pounds would limit flights to daylight hours and require operator certification, among other things.

During an informational hearing in the Legislature, experts told lawmakers the new rules could be economically beneficial for a number of the state’s industries, including agriculture and energy.

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Rep. Adam Neylon chairs the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy, which hosted the hearing. He said there’s sometimes hesitation when new technology comes out, but that Wisconsin is in a good spot to be a leader in drone development and use.

Currently, the FAA is holding a public comment period, so Neylon said the committee’s goal was to learn about how the state’s companies are using the technology so legislators could possibly weigh in on how the proposed regulations would impact the state, and make state-level changes if needed.

“We have to take into account protecting public safety, but we also want to develop our economy and create jobs and utilize technological advances to develop and grow here in Wisconsin,” Neylon said.

The FAA is accepting public comments on the proposed regulations until April 24.