New drone laws, regulations go into effect Thursday

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Nevada is becoming a hot bed for unmanned aerial vehicles, so state lawmakers are trying to get out in front of the regulation.

Earlier in 2015 Nevada Lawmakers passed dozens of new laws regulating commercial and recreational drones, and those laws will go into effect on Thursday. 

“I thought the state law did very well, in working on the privacy issues, to make sure that individual privacy is maintained,” said Ron Futrell, Avisight.

Assembly Bill 239 makes it a misdemeanor to fly less than 250 feet over a property and to do trick flying over people.  Drones must also operate below 500 feet and within the operator’s line of sight.
  
However, drones aren’t allowed to operate within 500 feet of critical facilities, meaning government buildings or power plants or within five miles of an airport.  The FAA was supposed to put new regulations in place on Oct. 1, but that deadline has been pushed back.
 
A former FAA executive who was in charge of drone regulations told 8 News Now those rules are still a work in progress.

“The FAA is really throwing resources at it because they get, that this is the new big thing,” said Jim Williams, former FAA executive.

There’s also a provision in the law that makes it illegal to operate a drone while under the influence.  Violators can be charged with a gross misdemeanor.
   
The new drone rules come during a time when drone sales are expected to grow.

“They anticipate there could be a million drones sold in this country over the holiday season, and that’s going to fill up the skies,” Futrell said.

In a statement hobbyists in Las Vegas say they support the new law But believe many of its other provisions, including prohibitions on arming drones with firearms, aren’t applicable to them.  They say they hope to see regulations that allow areas specifically set aside for recreational flying.

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