Two bills actually had addressed the emerging problem of wildfire-fighting interference. One called for slapping violators with fines and jail time. The other sought to give firefighters immunity should they “take out a drone” by jamming signals or other means.
The measures were merged in Senate Bill 168, which passed the Assembly 79-0 and the Senate 40-0. The bill contains an urgency clause, which means it will take effect immediately – if signed.
“It should be a slam dunk in my view,” said Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, one of the principal authors, in a telephone interview Monday. “We’ve got firefighters in peril. We’ve got firefighting pilots in peril. We’ve got air ambulances in peril. Clearly, I think he should sign it. We’re at a crisis point.”
With both chambers voting unanimously, and the end of the wildfire season still a month or two away, it’s hard to imagine Governor Brown not signing this.