SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today announced plans to introduce a package of six urgently needed and important bills that will protect citizens, property and emergency responders from drone interference.
“Privacy and public safety issues, including today’s heightened threat of terrorism, are among the most important policy issues facing Californians,” said Senator Gaines. “We must protect the public’s right to privacy and more importantly, their safety, from inappropriate drone-use. I attempted to address this new reality with several drone-related bills last session and I vow to continue tackling this problem that impacts the lives of all Californians.”
Last session, Senator Gaines introduced a series of drone bills that received unanimous, bi-partisan support from the legislature; however, they were vetoed by Governor Brown. Senator Gaines will be reintroducing those bills as part of his drone-related legislative package, in addition to several others, including the following:
- Drones over Emergency Zones – Increases the fines for drone interference with firefighting and emergency response activities.
- Drones and Immunity for Emergency Responders – Grants civil immunity to any emergency responder who damages a drone in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations.
- Drones over Schools – Bans drones from flying over public schools grades K-12, while school is in session.
- Drones over Prisons – Prohibits drones from flying over prisons and delivering contraband.
- Drones over Critical Infrastructure – Restricts drones from flying over critical infrastructure.
- Drone Stalking – Disallows an individual from using drones to violate a restraining order.
“The problem of drone interference will likely be far worse this coming year because 1 million new drones are expected to be given as holiday gifts,” said Senator Gaines. “Drone operators need to understand all air safety laws and use common sense. But if they ignore the law and expose everyone to direct and unnecessary risk, they should be punished. My package of bills will do just that.”