Aerospace bills pass Assembly

The California Assembly passed two bills relating to aerospace last week, paving the way for what local leaders hope may be economic growth in the burgeoning unmanned-systems and commercial space sectors.

Assembly Bill 1327 is a first step toward opening up the skies for potential use of unmanned aerial systems.

The bill authorizes state agencies to deploy UAS, commonly referred to as drones, in cases of enforcing public safety; as well as non-law-enforcement entities to obtain and use drones as long as the public is notified.

The legislation also addresses privacy and safety concerns. The bill compels agencies to destroy drone-collected data within six months (unless data relates to ongoing investigations) and prohibits the weaponization of drones.

AB777 extends the current property-tax exemption for private space flight companies.

Lawmakers, including Assem- blywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), testified to their peers on the importance of protecting an industry that has seen an exodus to states such as Texas and New Mexico, which have offered incentives that have allowed them to recruit business from California.

Story First Published: 2014-02-05