Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS





Drones Across America


available from the


American Bar Association


These pages on state laws updated as of April 19, 2022


FAA website on UAS


In 2017 I once again updated my paper for the panel at the ABA conference in DC... after the publication of my book (download below)


In the Aftermath of Pirker: Questions of Policy versus Law on UAS (download below) is a white paper I wrote in September 2015 and presented at The Citadel in South Carolina, on the current state of events with regulation in the U.S.


It updates the white paper I wrote in February 2015 after sitting on a UAS panel in January at A3IRCON, entitled Pirker and Beyond: Questions of Policy versus Law on UAS (download below)


ABA panel paper feb 2017.docx
Microsoft Word document [225.0 KB]
In the Aftermath of Pirker.docx
Microsoft Word document [70.8 KB]
Pirker and Beyond.docx
Microsoft Word document [143.7 KB]

While anxiously awaiting the governing regulations from the FAA, almost all states across the nation have enacted laws pertaining to UAS.

State and local governments have authority to prohibit UAS aviation activities from their land or waterways (state-owned property).


In 2013, 43 states introduced 130 bills and resolutions addressing UAS issues. At the end of the year, 13 states had enacted 16 new laws and 11 states had adopted 16 resolutions.

In 2014, 35 states considered UAS or UAV (also commonly called drones) bills and resolutions. 10 states enacted new laws.

In 2015, 45 states considered 168 bills related to drones. 20 states passed 26 pieces of legislation. 5 other states adopted resolutions.

In 2016, 38 states considered legislation. 18 states passed 32 pieces of legislation.

In 2017, 38 states considered legislation. 17 states passed 23 pieces of legislation. 



Taking Off: State UAS Policies


2016 - Taking Off - State UAS Policies - NCSL
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]

In the sub menus you will find UAS State and local laws, listed alphabetically, current as of April 2022


Where just the name of the bill or resolution is hyperlinked in black that means that it is not yet law!

Note that bills that are now law are changed to blue font



National Conference of State Legislators


Below are two quick and fun videos on how a bill becomes law for students not familiar with the inner workings of the US Government


Dec 17, 2015 - FAA issues Fact Sheet on State and Local UAS Laws

The FAA's new fact sheet on state and local regulation of UAS provides information for states and municipalities considering laws or regulations addressing UAS use. The document outlines FAA's safety reasons for federal oversight of aviation and airspace, and explains federal responsibility in this area. The fact sheet provides examples of state and local laws affecting UAS for which consultation with the FAA is recommended, such as restrictions on flight altitude or flight paths, regulation of the navigable airspace, and mandating UAS-specific equipment or training. The fact sheet also gives examples of UAS laws likely to fall within state and local government authority, such as requirements for police to obtain a warrant prior to using UAS for surveillance; prohibitions on the use of UAS for voyeurism; exclusions on using UAS for hunting or fishing, or harassing individuals engaged in those activities; and prohibitions on attaching firearms or other weapons to a UAS.

Adobe Acrobat document [146.3 KB]
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Adobe Acrobat document [2.2 MB]

Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS


602 561 8665


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Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. 

While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

In no event shall Sarah Nilsson be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages relating to this material, for any use of this website, or for any other hyperlinked website.



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