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State Senate Holds Drone Hearing

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State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (D), Santa Barbara, held a hearing Tuesday to discuss the pros and cons of restricting drones in California.

"Every Californian has a fundamental right to privacy," Jackson said, adding that flying a drone into a neighhbor's backyard and legally spying on them is a violation of privacy. The new proposed bill would define private and public spaces, where a drone can fly, and just how high.

For agencies like Cal Fire and the United States Air Force, drones are crucial. Representatives testified Tuesday that drones enabled crews to scope out raging flames during the 2013 Rim Fire, and ultimately sped up containment.

"If we can save one life, then all the work this committee is doing will be worth it," said Colonel Dana Hassheimer of the U.S. Air Force.

Chief Travis Alexander of Cal Fire complained that the process of getting a drone into the air during an emergency takes too long.

"When we used the predator over the Rim Fire... There was a lot of different contacts that needed to be made with the Secretary of Defense," said Alexander.

Tuesday's hearing also brought members of the motion picture industry, scientific researchers, and the Techni Drone industry itself.

The bill is still in the early stages. SB-142 was introduced in January of 2015.