The State of Illinois recently ended the debate as to whether local governments can regulate the use of drones. Pursuant to Public Act 100-0735, which became effective August 3rd, the State now preempts any local regulation of drones. Now codified as 620 ILCS 5/42.1 “Regulation of unmanned aircraft systems” under the Illinois Aeronautics Act, 620 ILCS 5/1, et al, the legislature has declared, “the regulation of an unmanned aircraft system is an exclusive power and function of the State. No unit of local government, including home rule unit, may enact an ordinance or resolution to regulate unmanned aircraft systems.”
Between federal and state preemptions, local governments are now denied any regulatory authority to control the use – and abuse – of drone operations within their respective communities.
That does not mean, however, that local governments are left helpless in the face of irresponsible drone operators – and they are out there.
Local governments may still, minimally, enforce state law and local ordinances related to disorderly conduct, privacy, and trespassing.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the State’s preemption under 620 ILCS 5/42.1, local governments with drone ordinances regulating the use of unmanned aircraft should be repealed.