Utah State Senator Offers Drone Regulation Bill

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
02/03/2014
       
Utah State Senator Offers Drone Regulation Bill

Utah State Senator Howard Stephenson has introduced a bill to regulate law enforcement's use of drones.

Utah is a land of contradictions. Early in January, Governor Gary Herbert goes to D.C. with his hat in his hand, looking for more federal "investment" in Utah. Then, earlier this week during his annual "State of the State" address, he promises he will stand up for his state's sovereignty and that he will stand up to federal overreach.

On January 14, for example, Governor Herbert made the annual pilgrimage to the White House to petition the president for more money. Herbert and several other governors spent about an hour and a half talking to the president and vice-president about “energy, transportation, public lands and health care.” The state executives were trying to find “an optimal point” between state and federal power in these areas, according to comments made by Herbert to the Deseret News.

Fast forward, then, to January 29, and Herbert is standing in front of the Utah State legislature, delivering his “state of the state” address. Outside of D.C. and after having already secured his place at the trough, Herbert strikes a more defiant, independent tone. Speaking of the challenge of “asserting [Utah’s] rightful role as a sovereign state,” Herbert said:

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite." 

Unfortunately, our nation has strayed from what our founding fathers intended. Whether the issue is marriage, Medicaid or management of our public lands, our right to find Utah solutions to Utah issues is being hindered by federal overreach. 

In Utah, we understand state sovereignty, and we will do everything in our power to represent the will of the people while respecting the democratic and judicial processes. 

The change in altitude from D.C. to Salt Lake City must have affected Herbert’s short-term memory. Two weeks before proclaiming his state’s sovereignty and “right to find Utah solutions to Utah issues,” he’s standing in the Oval Office with his hat in his hand asking the feds for money.

It’s not just money Governor Herbert would like to see shipped in from Washington, D.C. to Utah, however.

Last year, Herbert began lobbying the Obama administration for Utah to become one of the six drone testing sites to be established this year by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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