President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE signed a sweeping defense policy bill into law on Tuesday that will allow the government to require recreational drone users to register their model aircraft.
A federal court ruled earlier this year that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have the power to force toy drone users to register their aircraft with the agency because Congress had said in a previous a law that the FAA can’t regulate model aircraft.
But the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which landed on Trump’s desk Tuesday, would restore the FAA’s registration system for civilian drones.
In December 2015, the FAA issued an interim rule requiring drone hobbyists to register their recreational aircraft with the agency.
The rule — which had not been formally finalized — requires model aircraft owners to provide their name, email address and physical address; pay a $5 registration fee; and display a unique drone ID number at all times. Those who fail to comply could face civil and criminal penalties.
While Congress directed the FAA to safely integrate drones into the national airspace in a 2012 aviation law, lawmakers also included a special exemption to prevent model aircraft from being regulated.
A D.C.-based appeals court cited the 2012 law in its ruling striking down the FAA drone registry, arguing that recreational drones count as model aircraft and that the registry counts as a rule or regulation.
Lawmakers included a fix for the issue in a Senate aviation bill this summer, but that legislation has been stalled, which is why the language was attached to the defense measure.