DRONES: MACKINAC BRIDGE; TASK FORCE                              S.B. 432 (S-1), 433, & 994:

                                                                                                    SUMMARY OF BILL

                                                                                      REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE










Senate Bill 432 (Substitute S-1 as reported)

Senate Bills 433 and 994 (as reported without amendment)

Sponsor:  Senator Tom Casperson (S.B. 432 & 994)

               Senator Wayne Schmidt (S.B. 433)

Committee:  Transportation




Senate Bill 432 (S-1) would amend the Aeronautics Code to do the following:


 --    Prohibit an unauthorized individual from operating an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) within 1,000 feet of the Mackinac Bridge, and provide that a violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days' imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $500.

 --    Exempt from the prohibition an employee or agent of the Mackinac Bridge Authority who was flying a UAS for an engineering inspection, security, or marketing.

 --    Exempt an individual who received a permit from the Mackinac Bridge Authority and was licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a UAS for a commercial purpose.

 --    Allow an accredited news-gathering organization or an affiliate network or subcontractor of that organization that was authorized under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act to operate UASs for the purposes of gathering and reporting the news, to operate a UAS without a permit not closer than 500 feet from the Mackinac Bridge.


Senate Bill 433 would amend the Aeronautics Code to define "drone" as an aircraft, or other flying device, that is remotely controlled.


Senate Bill 994 would amend the Aeronautics Code to do the following:


 --    Create the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force to develop statewide policy recommendations on the operation, use, and regulation of UASs in Michigan.

 --    Provide for the composition of the Task Force, and require the Governor to appoint its members within 90 days after the bill's effective date.

 --    Require the Task Force, within three months after its first meeting, to submit a report with recommendations to the Governor and the standing committees in the House and Senate that deal with transportation issues.

 --    Provide that the Task Force members' terms would be until the report was submitted.


The bill would define "unmanned aircraft system" as an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft, that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.


Senate Bill 432 (S-1) and 994 are tie-barred to each other. Senate Bill 433 is tie-barred to Senate Bill 432. Each bill would take effect 90 days after enactment.


Proposed MCL 259.96 (S.B. 432)                                Legislative Analyst:  Drew Krogulecki


MCL 259.3 (S.B. 433)      

259.8 et al. (S.B. 994)




Senate Bill 432 (S-1) would have an indeterminate fiscal impact on the State and local government. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to operate a drone within 1,000 feet of the Mackinac Bridge, with certain exceptions. An increase in arrests and convictions could place incremental resource demands on local court systems, law enforcement, and jails. Any associated increase in fine revenue would be dedicated to public libraries.


Senate Bills 433 and 994 would have no fiscal impact on State or local government.


Date Completed:  5-26-16                                                    Fiscal Analyst:  Ryan Bergan

David Zin

This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.