New State Law Prohibits Communities From Regulating Drones

April 20, 2018

A new state law approved by the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Scott Walker prevents communities from regulating drones.

The measure, Assembly Bill 855, drew support from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, UAS Advocacy Network, a group representing unmanned aerial systems, and land surveyors. The Milwaukee chamber of commerce, which claims 1,800 business members, has spent or funneled more than $2.4 million since 2010 on elections and lobbying activities to push pro-business policies at the expense of workers and consumers.

The proposal generated no opposition on the record.

Under previous state law, drones were prohibited over correctional facilities, or over private land at altitudes where they would interfere or endanger an owner’s land use or invade privacy.

The new law now prohibits using drones to interfere with police, firefighters, or other emergency responders; stalk or harass people; and violate court restraining orders.

The provision to prevent local governments from passing drone ordinances was added in an amendment during the legislative process by the bill’s author, GOP Rep. Michael Schraa, of Oshkosh, before it was approved by the legislature and Walker.