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National Conference of State Legislatures, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Legislation


Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, have many applications for law enforcement, land surveillance, wildlife tracking, search and rescue operations, disaster response, border patrol and photography among others. State legislatures across the country are debating if and how UAS technology should be regulated, taking into account the benefits of their use, privacy concerns and their potential economic impact. So far, 16 states have enacted 20 laws addressing UAS use. Common issues addressed in the legislation include defining what a UAS, UAV or drone is, how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies, how they can be used by the general public, regulations for their use in hunting game and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites.

The NCSL is collecting such legislation on an ongoing basis:

  • "2014 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Legislation" (June 4, 2014) (full-text).
  • "2013 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Legislation" (June 11, 2013) (full-text).