On May 13, 2015, Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, signed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research, Development, Regulation and Privacy Act of 2015 into law. This new Maryland state drone Act gives the state government the exclusive power to regulate drone usage, and preempts municipalities and counties from supplying their own ordinances. The Act also requires Maryland’s aviation administration, police and economic development department to research the “benefits and concerns” related to drone use, and propose ways in which drones can be used in authorized, safe ways. The research must also determine “the benefits [of drone use], including job creation, a cleaner environment, positive economic impacts, increased public safety and enhanced efficiencies.”The results of this research are to be presented to Maryland state officials by the end of 2018.

This new law will take effect on July 1, 2015. This will not affect the Federal rules over UAS operation. We are likely to see more states follow Maryland’s lead.