California governor vetoes bill punishing irresponsible drone users

He'll ban or regulate everything else, but not reckless behavior, it seems.

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoes drone law
Credit: Thinkstock

After several incidents where irresponsible drone users interfered with firefighting planes, California looked poised to pass harsher penalties for the idiots who were endangering the planes. It seemed a no-brainer. 

Well, Governor Jerry Brown doesn't seem to have a brain.

In three days, he signed a climate change bill, a gender pay equity law, a bill to combat racial profiling, and one legalizing assisted suicide. But he vetoed three bills that would have prohibited civilians from flying aerial drones over wildfires, schools, prisons, and jails.

Wait until you hear his reasoning.

"Each of these bills creates a new crime – usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed," Brown wrote. "This multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit."

You have got to be kidding me. He's refusing to create a new form of criminal law when behavior that's downright criminal is taking place. 

Governor Moonbeam complained that "Over the last several decades, California's criminal code has grown to more than 5,000 provisions covering every almost conceivable form of human misbehavior," and went on to note that prison populations have exploded over the same time period.

Well, by his logic, let's throw out all the revenge porn laws and let any pissed off ex post nudes and other embarrassing pictures and information for all the Web to see. When the issue of revenge porn first surfaced, nothing could be done because there were no laws against it. It was a modern problem. Older laws simply didn't extend to cover revenge porn until state legislatures passed amendments. 

Which is precisely what California did. California lawmakers amended the state’s disorderly conduct law in 2013 and 2014 to criminalize some forms of revenge porn. In 2014, the law was extended to include photos taken by others (the 2013 law only covered selfies) and allowed victims to sue for damages.

Revenge porn is nothing compared to the potential hazard and implications of reckless drone use. We're talking about the interference with firefighting efforts, and given how dry this state is, any fire explodes in size very quickly. We can't have DC-10 tankers turning back because some idiot flew a two-foot drone into the fire line.

I guess a drone user will have to get someone killed before Brown wises up. Even then, there are no guarantees.

To comment on this article and other Network World content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter stream.
Related:
Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.