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April 21, 2018

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Heck: Nevada must be wary of drone regulations

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Mikayla Whitmore

An Exom drone by Parrot on display at CES 2015 in the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

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U.S. Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV) responds to a question during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s drone industry needs to remain free of federal regulations that could slow its growth, U.S. Rep. Joe Heck told state lawmakers today.

Nevada is one of six states the Federal Aviation Administration chose as a test site for commercial drones — a 2013 decision that was applauded for its potential to spur new economic activity in the state. Heck is co-chair of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, a panel of federal lawmakers who study the drone industry, and expressed concern in a speech that the FAA’s regulatory process could “strangle” business.

He compared the drone industry to the nascent stages of the Internet during a speech, saying that if the federal government had rushed to create rules for the Internet it "might not function as we know it today."

"Now is not the time to over-regulate the unmanned systems industry – it must be allowed to grow and flourish so we can find out what these systems can do and the benefits they can provide,” he said.

The comments from the Las Vegas Republican come less than a week after Amazon criticized the FAA for slowly approving regulations governing the industry.

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