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Law Article: Tribal use of drones caught in Capitol Hill stalemate

Filed Under: Law | Politics
More on: 113th, appropriations, faa, house, senate

Attorney Philip Baker-Shenk discusses Capitol Hill stalemate over the use of drones by civilian groups, including tribal governments:
Domestic use of drones by Native American Indian tribal governments for resource management and public safety may be grounded before takeoff, at least for a while, by fiscal dogfights and privacy concerns that will play out later this month in the U.S. Congress.

The Senate's version of the appropriations legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would delay most civilian drone use for at least one more year while the FAA prepares a new report to Congress on the privacy implications of civilian drone use. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would direct the FAA to make "measurable progress" toward integrating unmanned aerial vehicles — or "UAVs" — into U.S. airspace.

Tribal governments require a seat at the table as Congress and federal regulators examine privacy and safety concerns in regulating domestic drone use. Congress needs to know that UAV technology provides a safe, non-intrusive, lower-cost means for tribal governments to obtain important information they need to govern more effectively. Like all other governments, tribes should have access to the best tools available to carry out self-governance.

Get the Story:
Philip "Phil" Baker-Shenk: September Fiscal Fights in Congress Threaten to Ground Tribal Plans for Drones (Holland & Knight 9/6)

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