Updated at 10:45 p.m. Sept. 9, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would limit drone use over private property. “Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination,” Brown wrote in his veto message, according to a Los Angeles Times report. “This bill, however, while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action.”
Eladio Arvelo of San Diego said late Wednesday: “I’m glad the governor realized the challenges of complying with and enforcing SB 142 and decided to veto it.”
The creator of a drone video showcasing San Diego at sunrise wants Gov. Jerry Brown to turn lights out on legislation that would limit where he can fly.
Eladio Arvelo, the Qualcomm engineer who shot “Good Morning, San Diego,” admits that he wasn’t aware of the anti-drone legislation until recently.
“But [I] just took the time to fill out the online form to support a veto for SB 142,” Arvelo said Wednesday. “I’m not sure how 350 feet was chosen as the lowest allowed altitude … but it seems rather restrictive in practice since the highest altitude allowed by the FAA for recreational flyers is 400 feet, and maintaining altitude in such a tight range between 350 and 400 feet is challenging with recreational equipment.”
He said most of the scenes in his Vimeo video — viewed 212,000 times — were shot while flying directly over public spaces, not private property.
“I guess it could be argued that a few scenes flew over commercial (corporate) private property, so perhaps that would fall under the terms of SB 142,” he said. “Not sure. I’d think that having to consult with legal counsel to answer all of these questions before attempting to shoot an artistic video would certainly demotivate most people from trying to create such a nonprofit video in the future.”
He said he understood the need to balance privacy vs. personal-use rights, “so hopefully upcoming FAA guidelines on UAS operations will strike that balance at the national level.”
The National Press Photographers Association also called on Brown to veto the bill.
And the 7,500-member Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International called SB 142 “overreaching,” and said it would “severely limit the ability of consumer and commercial drones to take flight in the state.”
“The legislation is the wrong approach for California and the flourishing technology industry,” the group said in also urging a veto.
Arvelo won’t have to worry about drone laws for part of his next project.
“I’m currently working on my next video production, which combines aerial and underwater footage from a scuba diving trip to the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico. Hope to have it on Vimeo within a couple of months.”