This week was a great win for drones in Wisconsin! On May 23rd Gov. Walker signed Act 322 (link to full text below) that prevents local governments in Wisconsin from passing drone laws that go against state and federal law on drones.
Why does this matter? We fly drones in cities all over the Milwaukee area as we gather imagery for our customers, and similarly hobbyist fly drones in various parks and locations all over the state. Having each city passing a separate set of laws for drones would mean we have to try to find, understand, and track laws for every municipality we had to fly in. Imagine driving your car, but having different rules to remember for each city you drove in. The roads are meant for public use and are mainly controlled by the state, the sky is similarly is federally established for public use and is controlled the same as roads via state and federal law.
That being said, there is room for improvement of the laws regarding drones, and that is happening. This industry is just emerging and regulations take time to figure out in order to allow operators such as ourselves to function, but not be so restricting that commercial operators and hobbyists cannot properly use or enjoy drones. Privacy is also a concern, but the state laws on the books address this fairly well and give police power to handle a situation on the rare occasion that someone would use a drone for a violation of privacy.
One big item we have reached out to various city officials about is drones safety classes. In the interest of educating the public we believe that classes to teach people legal and safe use of drones is the key to proper use of drones. If you feel that this would be something your city might be interested in feel free to email us, or send them this link.
Want to learn more about the laws for hobbyist and commercial drones? Check out this article we did for OnMilwaukee - https://onmilwaukee.com/market/articles/drone-law.html
Link to Act 322: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/related/acts/322
For more information on our services: www.mkedrones.com