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FAA Bill Opens U.S. Skies for More Drone Aircraft

The newly passed funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration orders the agency to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015.

The directive represents "a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones" in U.S. airspace, says Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Local law-enforcement agencies around the country have begun to employ drone aircraft (see Sunshine State News story here).

With the new rules in force, the FAA estimates that 30,000 drones could be in the nations skies by 2020.

The FAA legislation, which President Obama is expected to sign, orders the agency by year-end to expedite and expand its approval process for drones by federal, state and local police and other agencies. The FAA currently issues certificates on a case-by-case basis.

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