On September 12, California's bill SB 142, which will greatly limit drone flights in the state, will sit before Governor Jerry Brown. The bill is intended to protect citizens' privacy but goes too far, allowing anyone to prosecute any flight for any reason under 350 feet over his or her private property. The bill has already passed the state house and senate, and we need your help (California residents in particular) to help stop it from becoming law.
SB 142 goes too far for a few reasons. It makes even unintentional violations of private airspace illegal. The bill has been dramatically changed from its original form: In its original wording this was a pretty reasonable bill that required plaintiffs to prove that a pilot committed a combination of violations: The flight was too low (under 350 feet) over private property; the pilot knew they were trespassing on private property; the pilot intended to capture pictures or videos of people on the private property; and those images would be considered a violation of privacy by a reasonable person. However, the bill has since been revised to simply prohibit ALL flights under 350 feet over private property.
This bill is bad for both recreational and commercial use, and companies like Google, Amazon and GoPro are with 3D Robotics in opposition. Not only does SB 142 open the door for excessive litigation for recreational pilots, it also means that in order to prosecute a pilot for a privacy violation you don't even need to prove that the drone was outfitted with a camera -- let alone that the pilot was knowingly flying over private property and knowingly capturing images of somebody or something. As long as you're flying under 350 feet and that flight happens to cross over private property for any reason, you'd be breaking the law.
This obviously could lead to trouble for well-intentioned hobbyists flying purely for their own enjoyment. It also dramatically restricts available airspace in the state: Drones being used for research or delivery, for instance, would be limited to a 150-foot banner of free airspace above 350 feet and below 500 feet. This will stifle innovation, and trammel a nascent and incredibly promising industry that already has deep roots in California.
YOU CAN HELP! Please contact Jerry Brown -- https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php -- and let him know that SB 142 goes too far.
You can read the bill here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id...