CSAC Bulletin Article

AOJ Bills of Interest

May 12, 2016

State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act

SB 868 (Jackson) – Support
As Amended April 26, 2016

Senate Bill 868 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson would establish a regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft technology and operations in California. The increased use of unmanned aircraft technology in recent years offers a variation of benefits, but also presents a series of challenges for state and local government regulatory authorities. The lack of clear regulations with this technology has led to multiple problems with the interference with first responders, firefighting efforts, near-collisions with aircrafts, and invasions of privacy. SB 868 takes a critical step in addressing these issues by establishing the State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act. 

SB 868 creates a comprehensive set of practical and intelligent drone regulations that provide a balance between protecting public safety and privacy, and encouraging innovation and technology.  This measure is carefully drafted to protect local and state regulating authority for remotely piloted aircrafts or unmanned aircraft systems as long as the ordinances are consistent with the State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act. SB 868 passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee with a 5-2 vote. SB 868 is set to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 16th.

Construction Contracts: Indemnity

SB 885 (Wolk) –Oppose
As Amended May 10, 2016

Senate Bill 885 by Senator Lois Wolk would eliminate the ability of a public agency to contract with engineers and architects, known as design professionals, for upfront legal defense costs against claims related to a project’s design work.   This bill would reverse the 2010 compromise that created Civil Code 2782.8 which establishes an unreasonable defense liability requirement for design professionals.  SB 885 creates an exception to long-standing and wide-reaching California indemnity law for one specific industry that happens to have an unsecured risk.  This new process will inevitably tie up public works projects and their funding in the legal system until an official judgment is made, increasing a backlog of differed maintenance and slowing investment in new infrastructure projects.   SB 885 is on the Senate Floor and can be taken up at any time.  CSAC encourages counties to determine how this would impact local public works projects and oppose.   

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