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Friday, September 7, 2018

New State Law Preempts Local Government Regulation of Drones

Just last month, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law preempting local government regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (commonly referred to as drones). 

In P.A. 100-735, the state declared that the regulation of drones is an "exclusive power and function of the State." The new law prohibits any unit of local government, including home rule units (except Chicago), from enacting any ordinance or resolution that regulates unmanned aircraft systems. The law became effective August 3, 2018.

So, what does this mean for Illinois local governments? The law does not seem to prohibit units of local government from controlling or regulating drones that fly over their own government-owned property, which would be more of an "ownership" exercise of authority rather than "regulatory" exercise. But, the law does appear to hinder a local government from regulating drones through its exercise of zoning or other powers over private property.

It will be interesting to see how the FAA will react to this state law given that the FAA has enacted a substantial number of regulations on unmanned aircraft systems. 

For more information about this new law and how it affects local government regulation and control of drones, stay tuned for an upcoming episode of our podcast Quorum Forum, titled Drone On. We will update you as soon as that episode is released.


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