Sen. Lee introduces bills on Government Spectrum Valuation, Drone Integration and Zoning Act

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)  introduced the Government Spectrum Valuation Act, a bill designed to estimate the value of electromagnetic spectrum assigned to each federal agency as a first step towards meeting the nation’s spectrum needs.“So much of the technology we depend on in modern life depends on radio frequency spectrum,” said Sen. Lee. “Unfortunately, this fixed resource is becoming increasingly in demand and congested; and we do not currently have a way of making sure that federal spectrum is being efficiently allocated and managed. This bill will provide us with data that we need to better manage federal spectrum, and to better facilitate a strategy for operating our current technologies and future innovations.”

Specifically, the Government Spectrum Valuation Act would require over the next three years, and every three years thereafter, that the NTIA coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the FCC to estimate the value of electromagnetic spectrum between 3 kilohertz and 95 gigahertz for licensed or unlicensed uses that is assigned or allocated to each federal agency, as well as to report the value in the president’s budget and each federal agency’s statement.

Sen. Lee also introduced the Drone Integration and Zoning Act (DIZA), a bill to establish a regulatory framework for drones based on the principles of local governance and cooperative federalism.“The FAA cannot feasibly or efficiently oversee millions of drones in every locality throughout the country,” Sen. Lee said. “Further,  its current legal position claiming regulatory authority over every cubic inch of air in the United States – including air just inches above Americans’ private property – is both unsustainable and unlawful. In our constitutional system, the states have sovereign police powers to govern over inherently local issues, including the protection of property, land use, privacy, trespass, and law enforcement. The best way to ensure public safety, protect property rights, and unleash drone innovation is to empower the people closest to the ground to make local decisions in real time, which is exactly what the Drone Integration and Zoning Act does.”         

DIZA seeks to balance the competing airspace authorities between the federal government and the states by more clearly defining the boundaries of the FAA’s authority over the air as well as the proper scope of regulatory authority that federal and state governments exercise over drones operating in the United States. Specifically, it protects the authority of the states to issue time, place, and manner restrictions, while not unreasonably prohibiting access to the federal “navigable airspace”; and it protects the local zoning authority of state, local, or tribal governments to designate commercial drone take-off and landing zones, while still allowing for interstate commerce.