California’s New-Found Love of Unmanned Aircraft

Amid all the debate over the role of drones in the U.S. military, these pilotless aircraft are getting a lot of love from California legislators. Less than six months into the new legislative session, four bills relating to drones (described officially as “unmanned aircraft systems” by the attorneys at the Legislative Counsel Bureau) have been introduced so far. This is a significant increase over the zero bills on that subject during the last decade.

While federal officials debate the role of drone aircraft in civilian airspace and in military operations, the use of these aircraft has become increasingly widespread. From the $300 “AR Drone” quadcopter, which can shoot high-definition video and has a range of several hundred feet to the military RQ-4 Global Hawk (with a pricetag of $104 million and range of 8,700 miles) the flexibility of these aircraft have led to their use in an always-growing range of applications.

As the industry continues to take off, California legislators are working to make California a center for the growing industry (bringing a large share of the anticipated 100,000 manufacturing jobs and billions in revenue to the state).

The four bills introduced so far this session, relating to “unmanned aircraft systems” are:

Assemblyman Gorell

AB 1327 (Gorell) would prohibit public agencies (except for law enforcement) from using unmanned aircraft systems to observe of another person without that person’s consent. The bill would also require images, footage, or data obtained by the drones to be permanently destroyed within 10 days (with a few exceptions, including for use as evidence of a crime, as part of an ongoing investigation, or when authorized by a court order).

Assemblyman Fox

AJR 6 (Fox) would ask the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to consider California as a test site for unmanned aircraft systems, while Fox’s other bill, AB 737 (whose bill number is a cute reference to the world’s best-selling jet airliner) would require the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to prepare a proposal to establish a drone test site in California and to consult with an advisory commission and specified local governments in developing a proposal for presentation to the FAA.

Senator Padilla

SB 15 (Padilla) is an “intent language” bill that merely states the intention of the Legislature to establish appropriate standards for the use of unmanned aircraft systems.


Handwriting Analysis: California Legislators

Assemblyman Rudy Salas

Assemblyman Rudy Salas

Having recently read a couple articles on handwriting analysis (like this one, this one, and this one), I was pleasantly surprised to see the recent release of a February 19th letter from several state legislators to the Franchise Tax Board that included the signatures of most of the new class of legislators. As you take a quick look at the signatures, take these two points into consideration:

  • The article at says that large signatures indicate high status, while small signatures indicate “the writer expects little esteem from other people.”
  • The article explains that “Right slanted writing signifies someone who freely expresses emotional feelings, is affectionate and passionate. A vertical slant is used by people who are always in control, level headed, and show no emotion.” It appears to me that all but one of these signatures are either right-slanted or vertical. So what does that say about Nestande?

To compare some older signatures, check out this 2009 letter from Assemblyman Pedro Nava (who had one of the most creative signatures I’ve seen).

I’ll let you read the rest of the articles (and study the various signatures) for yourself.

La Malfa Vacancy: Nielsen wins Special Election

Jim Nielsen

Nine weeks ago, I wrote this article when it appeared that Jim Nielsen had received just over 50% of the vote in the Special Primary Election. He ended falling up a couple hundred votes short, so after correcting that first post, I’m going to rerelease it again tonight:

With Jim Nielsen receiving nearly two thirds of the vote in the runoff, the Special Election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of State Senator Doug La Malfa has been filled. Nielsen will likely be sworn in as early as Thursday. Because Nielsen will serve less than half of the current term (he will be up for reelection in 2014), he will be eligible for two more full terms, bring his total time in the Senate to just under 22 years.

Senator La Malfa resigned on September 1st, at the end of the Legislative Session.