On July 1, 2017, a new law in the State of Florida became effective in order to keep “local governments from regulating drone and model aircraft operations” in the State, while in turn, “protecting those who fly safely and within the bounds of the law from unnecessary and burdensome local regulations.” However, the law does permit “local governments to enact or enforce local ordinances relating to illegal acts, such as voyeurism, property damage and harassment, arising from the use of drones and model aircraft.” Specifically, the law says that “a political subdivision” may not enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that relates to the design, manufacture, testing, maintenance, licensing, registration, certification, or operation of drones, including airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements, the purpose of operations and pilot, operator or observer qualifications, training and certification.

The law also protects critical infrastructure facilities by prohibiting drone operators from interfering with these facilities or flying over them unless the pilot is conducting commercial operations and is complying with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

The law states that the “authority to regulate the operation of unmanned aircraft systems [(i.e., drones)] is vested in the state except as provided in federal regulations, authorizations or exemptions.” At least Florida is clear on its stance regarding FAA preemption and local laws for drone use.