I just sent a letter to the Senate and my senators to voice my opinion that only the FAA may regulate aviation activities.
As a commercial pilot of 25 years, flight instructor and a small UAS owner/operator, I have an interest in aviation safety.
Sen. Feinstein's amendments #3558 and #3650 or any other amendment that would change or strike the federal preemption provision, section 2152, of the FAA Reauthorization Act will put safety at risk.
Consistent aviation rules promote safety. When there is a hodge-podge patchwork of local rules compliance will always be difficult, and such confusion only encourages operators to ignore them.
Rules and regulations that determine who and where you can fly are the exclusive domain of the federal government. State and local governments in these areas will create a complicated patchwork of laws that will not enhance, air safety. Thinking that all “drone” flight is local is shortsighted and would also limit the potential of these aircraft.
If a local community thinks they have a sensitive area that needs protection from sUAS aircraft, then they can ask the FAA to establish a Flight Restriction.
The proposed amendments are typical fear mongering and catering to the paranoid. The panic, here, is completely out of any sort of proportion to reality. There is absolutely no factual evidence to support the fear and ignorance around small UAS aircraft.
There have been more than a million hours of flight of small drones, yet there is not one verifiable report of a drone crash in the US that resulted in a serious injury as defined by the NTSB* to someone not connected to the flight. Not one. It is a safety rate that all other segments of aviation would be jealous to have. There is also not one verifiable report of a collision between a small drone and a manned aircraft. Not one. When it happens, the aircraft crew is probably not going to be aware of it, and the drone pieces will be scattered over a square mile.
Keep the risk of small UAS in perspective.
* A band-aid is not a serious injury. CFR 49 §830.2 contains the definition of "Serious Injury" that the FAA and NTSB use in their aircraft and vehicular accident statistics. It is important to hold small UAS accidents to the same metric, otherwise comparisons are meaningless.