March 29, 2023
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Editorial: The drone debate continues


California State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, weighed in on the debate about drone activity over California with a bill to regulate the airspace above the Golden State.

Padilla said he was acting to protect individual liberties, stating in a release that during the next five years there could be more than 10,000 unmanned aerial vehicles operating over the United States.

Padilla’s proposed legislation, known as Senate Bill 15, comes as Ventura County is deciding whether to mount a serious economic development effort based around the high-tech, well-paying jobs the industry offers. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean has suggested that drones could have real uses in fighting fires and in drug eradication efforts in remote areas of the county.

At first glance, Senate Bill 15 seems like a well-intentioned effort to protect individuals from intrusive fly-overs. But it is crucially important that the legislation keep California on a level playing field in competing for jobs that come with the drone revolution.

The downside would be for California to lose thousands of potential jobs in drone manufacturing and then see local and state rules overridden by new Federal Aviation Administration rules.