Municipal Regulation and Use of Drones: Navigating New FAA Rules and Federal Preemption

Leveraging Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar for local government counsel will explore issues facing municipalities due to increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—or drones. The panel will discuss current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding drones, preemption issues that local governments must navigate, the use of drones by local governments, and local regulation of drones to further safety, privacy or proprietary interests.


The use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for commercial and recreational purposes continues to increase at a rapid pace. Drones have a variety of commercial applications, from disaster site inspection to film production to Amazon’s publicized desire to use drones to deliver packages.

The rise in drone activity has even spurred some law firms to launch drone practices to advise clients on a host of issues, including technology, insurance, privacy, products liability and regulatory compliance. More than 150 drone-re­lated bills have been considered by 45 states during 2015, and 26 states passed drone-regulating legislation in the last two years.

UAVs present many challenges and opportunities for municipalities. UAVs have multiple potential municipal uses, including surveillance, emergency response, traffic enforcement, and property inspection. But cities also have an interest in regulating drones to protect the privacy and safety of residents.

Regulation of UAVs falls under the authority of the FAA, which has authority to regulate U.S. airspace. The FAA recently released long-awaited new rules that will require registration of drones and restrict their size and how high and fast they can fly, and make it easier to become a commercial drone operator.

The FAA estimates the new rule will result in 600,000 unmanned aircraft being used commercially in the first year. However, the new rule recognizes the authority of states and municipalities to regulate other aspects of drone operation.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses issues facing municipalities in light of the increased use of UAVs. The panel will outline long-standing and new FAA regulations and rules regarding drones, general preemption issues local governments must navigate, the use of drones by local governments, and local regulation of drones to further safety, privacy or proprietary interests.


  1. Overview of drone technology and uses
  2. Review of FAA laws, regulations and new “Part 107”
  3. Municipal regulatory issues arising from drone use
  4. Opportunities for municipal use of drones
  5. Preemption issues


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What types of local UAV regulations are most vulnerable to FAA preemption?
  • What risk management issues are raised by municipal use of drones?
  • What privacy rights are implicated by municipal use of drones?
  • How can municipalities use existing laws to regulate drones, such as zoning regulations to restrict drone takeoff and landing sites?
  • What impact will the FAA's new drone rules have on the ability of municipalities to regulate local drone use?


Derke J. Price, Equity Partner
Ancel Glink Diamond Bush DiCianni & Krafthefer, Naperville, Ill.

Mr. Price represents municipalities, park districts, school districts, townships, libraries & special agencies. His practice includes appeals and trial work in both federal and state courts and concentrates in construction, land use and development, and environmental matters. He serves as special counsel to numerous municipalities. He frequently speaks at local government conferences on land use and construction law issues, and has contributed materials to numerous publications for municipal officials, planning and zoning authorities, counties, park district officials, townships and school districts on land use and construction issues.

Jeffrey Antonelli
Antonelli Law, Chicago

Mr. Antonelli is a litigator, with a practice focusing on a broad range of actions representing corporations and individuals as plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal court. He founded and leads the firm's Drone/UAS Practice Group. His litigation experience includes hotly contested issues in intellectual property, business, insurance, and consumer fraud.

Joanna L. Simon
Morrison & Foerster, San Diego

Ms. Simon has been an integral part of building the firm’s unmanned aircraft systems/drone practice since its inception in 2014. She represents clients in complex and multi-district litigation, with an emphasis on aviation and pharmaceutical defense. Her experience includes product liability, aviation, pharmaceutical, and general commercial matters.


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