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Representative Holmes Introduces UAS and Airspace Navigation Bills

November 19, 2021
Adam Holmes News

COLUMBUS – State Representative Adam Holmes (R-Nashport) introduced three bills over the last two weeks designed to shape the future of airspace use in Ohio. The first two, House Bills 485 and 486, will lay the regulatory groundwork for future use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or drones in the state. 

“Drones are rapidly becoming more widely available and will quickly generate transformational improvements in emergency services, personal transportation, delivery of goods, and recreational activities,” said Holmes. “A comprehensive regulatory framework is key to ensuring our aviation industry is a leader in this space and that our citizens fully benefit from the emerging technology.” 

House Bill 485 establishes requirements and prohibitions governing drone operations. The bill penalizes criminal surveillance of critical infrastructure, defines local government authority relating to drone activity, and makes ODOT’s Office of Aviation the information hub for all UAS regulations.

House Bill 486 strengthens Ohioans’ privacy protections by limiting what law enforcement and other government agencies can do with information captured incidentally via UAS. The bill also establishes strict requirements for obtaining a search warrant for drone surveillance and for maintaining and disposing of UAS data gathered by state and local governments.

The third bill, House Bill 490, will protect Ohio’s navigable airspace by updating the permitting process for tall structures and strengthening ODOT’s role in the approval of such projects. 

“As large scale flight operations increase statewide, airports will see increased activity and need for expansion. Ohio must have a permitting process that will be able to efficiently and effectively handle this demand.” Holmes said.