Rep. Stephen R. Ucci, D-Dist. 42, and Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, D-Dist. 55, have introduced two pieces of legislation regarding the aircraft.
H.5292 would give the state the exclusive legal authority to regulate UAVs, and H.5293 would establish a legislative commission to study and make recommendations to regulate them.
“As a state, we need to be prepared, we need to understand this new technology and we have to consider if or how we, as a state, want these craft regulated,” says Rep. Ucci.
“We need rules so we can benefit from this technology without it becoming an imposition to our safety or our privacy,” he adds.
Rep. Corvese explains that the second bill, which would give the state exclusive regulatory authority over the aircraft, “is to ensure we take a unified, statewide approach to the issue, rather than having individual communities adopting a variety of different kinds of ordinances. We need a consistent approach and consistent regulations for issues that are common across the state – such as how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies and how they can be used by the general public.”
The study commission proposed in the Ucci-Corvese bill would create an 11-member panel that would report its findings and recommendations by early next January.
Membership would include five members of the House of Representatives, to be named by the Speaker of the House; the Attorney General; the president of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns; the executive director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency; the president of the University of Rhode Island; the president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation; and a representative of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
“Rather than trying to regulate after the fact or play catch-up with the technology, now is the appropriate time for a thorough and comprehensive study of this issue,” says Ucci.
Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Corporations.