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Lawmakers want to put limits on where drones can fly in California

Jessica Paterson

A bill to clarify where drones can fly in California is moving forward in Sacramento. It passed 9-to-1 out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday, July 13th, with a bi-partisan vote.

If signed into law, SB 142 would prohibit unmanned vehicles, or drones, from flying over a person's property without their consent. It would clarify existing trespass law to include drones, creating a 'no fly zone' of 350 feet.

Local State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said her bill has received plenty of bi-partisan support.

"This is really a lot about the right of privacy-- the right to be free from being surveilled, by a stranger or by anyone without your permission," said Senator Jackson.

Mario Mairena is with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. He said he is concerned the bill would overreach.

"We feel that there is already a robust legal framework that addresses privacy concerns and I think that legislators so often focus on the method in which the privacy is violated.  But you know our privacy can be violated in a number of ways," said Mairena.

Mairena said the bill would make it nearly impossible for drones to operate or innovate. The bill, as written, allows drones to fly freely over public spaces like roads, beaches or schools. It heads next to the assembly floor.