A fear that many commercial drone operators share, is a fear of new drone regulations that severely limit commercial applications. New laws that stifle drone innovation, will in the end, have a major financial effect. That’s why I get so frustrated when I read about new drone laws, bills or regulations that are unfriendly to drones, especially when they are written by people who simply don’t understand the industry.
Consider House Bill 602 in New Hampshire, which recently won (overwhelmingly so) with a 251-114 vote. Who voted and passed this bill? People like Representative Renny Cushings, a democrat from Hampton, New Hampshire. According to Government Technology:
“We have to rethink what trespass is,” said bill supporter Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, in light of the new technology available today that allows something as small as a bumblebee to hoover outside your bedroom window.
I hate to be the person pointing out the very obvious disconnect, but do any of our readers own a drone “as small as a bumblebee?” The fact that Cushing believes this is the state of current drone technology and is making decisions that effect the drone industry in New Hampshire is appalling.
House Bill 602, originally written to allow police to use drones as a delivery mechanism for tear gas (yes, seriously), was revised “after concerns were raised “(that’s an understatement).
In it’s current form House Bill 602 includes the following stipulations:
Under the bill, which several House committees have worked on over the summer and fall, both government- and privately-owned drones would need permission to travel over private property.
Law enforcement would not be allowed to fly a drone below 250 feet over private property to collect information without the consent of the owner.
Drone owners would be required to follow all federal guidelines within five miles of an airport, weapons of any kind would be prohibited and using drones to harass or stalk anyone.
Law enforcement may use drones to gather evidence with a court warrant, and in an emergency, to assess the scope of an incident or to counter a potential terrorist attack
Lawmakers decided to exempt the Air National Guard from the regulations.
This revised form seems pretty reasonable, but I’d still like to see some of the terms more explicitly defined. For example, how do you harass someone by drone? What qualifies? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think harassing or stalking by drone should be legal by any stretch, I just think the language is vague enough for a range of interpretation.
About Representative Robert Reynolds ‘Renny’ Cushing
Robert Reynolds ‘Renny’ Cushing (born July 20, 1952) is a Democratic member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from the town of Hampton. First elected in 1996, Cushing currently represents Rockingham District 21. He has served several non-consecutive terms (previously representing Rockingham Districts 15 and 22). Cushing graduated from Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, and his first foray into civic engagement was in the 1970s when he was involved with the Clamshell Alliance, an anti-nuclear coalition that attempted to prevent the construction of a nuclear power plant in nearby Seabrook, New Hampshire. In June 1988, his father was murdered in his own house. In years subsequent, he has become an advocate to abolish capital punishment. Cushing lives in Hampton with his wife and has three adult daughters.