Governor Signs Bill Co-Authored by Senator Patricia Bates to Protect First Responders from Drones

Thursday, September 29, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown today signed bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) and co-authored by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and others that will protect first responders if they damage a drone during the delivery of emergency services. Incidents in the past have endangered the lives of firefighters and highlighted the need for the state to act.

“I am pleased that the governor has signed bipartisan legislation to protect first responders from drones that interfere with their work,” said Bates, who is a member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. “With drones growing in popularity, the potential for their abuse and harm to first responders has increased considerably. I commend Senator Gaines for his steadfast leadership in addressing this timely issue.”

Senate Bill 807 will limit the exposure to civil liability of an emergency responder for damaging a drone if the drone was interfering with the delivery of emergency services, such as a plane dropping water on a wildfire.

SB 807 is similar to SB 168 (Gaines) that Governor Jerry Brown vetoed last year.