Lewis leads bipartisan Drone Innovation Act

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Washington, June 19, 2017 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) issued the following statement after introducing the Drone Innovation Act, H.R. 2930. Lewis, who leads the legislation, was joined by a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Representatives Brownley (D-CA-26), Rokita (R-IN-04), and Garamendi (D-CA-03): 

“America continues to lead the world in technological advances. It’s clear to me that drones have a growing role to play in interstate commerce, and that’s vital to maintaining our economic strength at home and competitiveness on the world stage. The Drone Innovation Act will promote that spirit of invention by establishing a clear framework for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Importantly, my legislation also lays out clear protections for your right to privacy and gives local governments the primary responsibility in forming guidelines for how drones can be used in our communities. I look forward to working with the FAA to maintain an environment that works for all stakeholders, and thank my colleagues for their support.”

Congresswoman Brownley remarked: “Congress needs to do more to spur innovation in this exciting new field of aviation, while at the same time promoting the safe integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace. As this process moves forward, it's important that we explore the proper role of state and local governments in helping to foster innovation. The pilot program created by the bill would be one step that can help lead us forward. I look forward to working with the Drone Advisory Committee, and other industry stakeholders, as Congress considers these issues, and thank my colleague, Jason Lewis, for leading this effort.”

Background: The Drone Innovation Act embodies a new approach to civil UAS, commonly known as drones. Lewis’ approach seeks to balance the principles of local control and a right to privacy with a need to continue encouraging American innovation in cutting-edge technology. 

H.R. 2930 addresses civil UAS flying up to 200 feet above ground level within a state, local, or tribal government’s jurisdiction. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) retains control over the national airspace. The bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to work with state and local officials to develop a framework for local operation, around a set of principles Lewis outlines to encourage innovation and protect privacy. The bill also establishes a pilot program for federal partnerships to assess best practices.
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