California lawmakers approve bill to prohibit drones over private property

California lawmakers approve bill to prohibit drones over private property

California lawmakers approved a measure designed to restrict the use of drones over private properties without their owners’ permission. Flying a drone less-than 350 feet above a private property without prior permission would be considered a trespass violation.

The Assembly voted 43-11 to approve SB142, putting in on the way to the Senate for final approval.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said allowing a drone to look into a private property should be considered a trespass violation in the same way as driving a car on someone’s property is considered.

Supporting the bill, Gatto said, “If you drive on someone’s property with a car, you’re trespassing. If you’re looking on someone’s property to break in, you’re trespassing. It makes no sense that a drone should be able to look in your window and the operator should not be guilty of the same trespass.”

Gatto also noted that under the measure, the operator of drone and not the manufacturer would be held liable for any trespassing violation. The bill was authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), and presented by Gatto.

Some Assembly members raised concern that the bill would needlessly impose tough regulations on the burgeoning drone industry. Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson) said it could hurt the industry, which could result in loss of jobs and tax revenue.

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