Alabama governor creates state UAS Council

By Patrick C. Miller | January 29, 2015

As recommended by the task force he formed, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has created a state Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Council through an executive order.

In signing the order last week, Bentley cited Alabama’s potential UAS operations in the public and private sectors, public concerns about civil liberties and privacy, and the ongoing need for study and coordination of unmanned aerial technology.  

The order also places regulatory authority for unmanned aerial technology with the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aeronautics, another measure recommended by the UAS Task Force.

The UAS Council will serve as an advisory group to the Bureau of Aeronautics. The governor’s order says the council and the bureau will “analyze and respond to all matters related to unmanned aerial technology.”

Council members include the lieutenant governor; the Department of Agriculture and Industries commissioner; the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources commissioner; the Department of Transportation director; the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency secretary; and appointees from the Airport Authority and both house of the state’s legislature.

The UAS Council will be chaired by John Cooper, Department of Transportation director, and is required to meet quarterly. The order was signed Jan. 23 and went into effect immediately.

The UAS Task Force, chaired by agriculture and industry commissioner John McMillan, was created by Bentley last July to study UAS technology and presented its recommendations to him on Jan. 15.

Brad Fields, director of emergency programs in the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry, said subcommittees formed under the task force to study UAS-related topics and issues, would remain in place to assist the UAS Council and the Bureau of Aeronautics. 


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