Today's Law As Amended

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SB-347 State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act. (2017-2018)


 Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

 “Aircraft” means any manned contrivance used or designed for navigation of, or flight in, the air requiring certification and registration as prescribed by federal statute or regulation. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, manned lighter-than-air balloons and ultralight vehicles as defined in the regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (14 C.F.R. Part 103), whether or not certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration, shall not be considered to be aircraft for purposes of this part. “Aircraft” does not include remote piloted aircraft, as defined in Section 21753. 

SEC. 2.

 Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 21750) is added to Division 9 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:

PART 1.5. State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act

 This part may be cited as the State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act.
 The purpose of this part is to further and protect the public interest in remote piloted aircraft by all of the following means:
(a) Encouraging the development and general use of remote piloted aircraft.
(b) Fostering and promoting safety in remote piloted aeronautics.
(c) Preserving the fundamental right to privacy.
(d) Protecting the security of critical infrastructure.
(e) Protecting California’s natural resources.
(f) Encouraging the use of remote piloted aircraft for newsgathering in a manner consistent with the fundamental right to privacy.
(g) Effecting, where feasible and consistent with the policies of this state, uniformity with federal aeronautics laws and regulations.
(h) Establishing only those regulations that are essential and clearly within the scope of the authority granted by the Legislature, in order that persons may engage in every phase of remote piloted aeronautics with the least possible restriction consistent with the safety and the rights of others.
 (a) Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions and general provisions set forth in this part govern the construction of this part.
(b) This part shall not be construed to do either of the following:
(1) Limit any power of the state or a political subdivision to issue reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operation of remote piloted aircraft if the restrictions do not conflict with the provisions of this part.
(2) Preempt any local ordinance that regulates remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft systems if the ordinance is consistent with this part.
(c) Except as specified, this part shall not be construed as prohibiting, restricting, or permitting the prohibition of the takeoff, operation, or landing of remote piloted aircraft.
 (a) “Aircraft” means any contrivance used or designed for navigation of, or flight in, the air.
(b) “Critical infrastructure” means systems and assets so vital to the state that the incapacity or destruction of those systems or assets would have a debilitating impact on security, economic security, public health and safety, or any combination of those matters.
(c) “Operation of remote piloted aircraft” or “operate remote piloted aircraft” means the use, navigation, or piloting of remote piloted aircraft in the airspace over the land or waters of this state.
(d) “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, company, association, joint stock association, or body politic; and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, or other similar representative.
(e) “Pilot” means the person in command of a remote piloted aircraft while underway.
(f) “Political subdivision” means any county, city, whether general law or chartered, city and county, public corporation, district, or other political entity or public corporation of this state.
(g) “Remote piloted aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft, and includes the remote piloted aircraft system.
(h) “Remote piloted aircraft system” means a remote piloted aircraft and its associated elements, including communication links, that are required for the pilot to control the remote piloted aircraft.
 A person shall not weaponize a remote piloted aircraft or operate a weaponized remote piloted aircraft.
 (a) A person shall not operate a remote piloted aircraft in any of the following manners:
(1) In a manner that interferes with manned aircraft.
(2) In a manner that is prohibited by any federal statute or regulation governing aeronautics.
(3) In a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
(4) In a manner that constitutes a nuisance under Section 3479 of the Civil Code.
(5) In a manner that violates an individual’s right to privacy under Section 1 of Article I of the California Constitution.
(6) In a manner that constitutes trespass under California law.
(b) A remotely piloted aircraft shall always give way to manned aircraft.
 A person shall not operate a remote piloted aircraft in this state without first complying with all licensing, registration, and marking requirements required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
 (a) Every commercial operator of a remote piloted aircraft shall maintain, so long as the commercial operator continues to offer services for compensation, adequate protection against liability imposed by law upon operators of remote piloted aircraft.
(b) Any person using, operating, or renting a remote piloted aircraft with the permission, expressed or implied, of a commercial operator shall also maintain adequate protection against liability imposed by law for the payment of damages for personal bodily injuries, including death resulting therefrom, and property damage as a result of an accident involving the remote piloted aircraft.
(c) The department shall, after a public hearing, establish the amount of liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility, required by this section, that is reasonably necessary to provide adequate compensation for damages incurred through an accident involving a commercial operator of a remote piloted aircraft.
 (a) Consistent with the provisions of this part, the department may adopt rules and regulations governing the conditions under which remote piloted aircraft may be operated for the purpose of protecting and ensuring the general public interest and safety and the safety of persons operating remote piloted aircraft.
(b) The department may make and amend general or special rules, orders, and procedures, and establish minimum standards consistent with this part as it deems necessary to administer this part.
(c) In exercising authority under this part, the department shall cooperate with and assist the federal government, political subdivisions of this state, and others in the development of remote piloted aeronautics, and shall seek to coordinate activities whenever feasible.
(d) The department shall keep on file with the Secretary of State, and at its principal office, a copy of all its rules and regulations, adopted pursuant to this part, for public inspection.
(e) The department shall provide for the publication and general distribution of all its orders, rules, regulations, and procedures having general effect that are applicable to remote piloted aircraft.
 A violation of any provision of this part or any rule or order issued pursuant to this part shall be punishable as an infraction with a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), or as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
 Any state or peace officer charged with the enforcement of state and local laws or ordinances may enforce and assist in the enforcement of this part, any rule or order issued under this part, and all other laws of the state applicable to remote piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft systems.
 Nothing in this part shall be construed to impair or impede any other rights, causes of action, claims, or defenses available under other laws. The remedies provided in this part are cumulative with any other remedies available under other laws.
 The provisions of this part are severable. If any provision of this part or its application is held to be invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
SEC. 3.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.