The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday it would appeal a judge’s decision that the government lacks authority to ban commercial drones in the U.S., a move that will again ground the unmanned aerial vehicles until further guidance is issued.
“The FAA is appealing the decision of an NTSB administrative law judge to the full National Transportation Safety Board, which has the effect of staying the decision until the board rules,” the agency said in a statement. “The agency is concerned that this decision could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground.”
NTSB Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled Thursday that documents the FAA cited to justify its drone ban were either meant for internal use by officials or failed to comply with proper rule-making guidelines.
The case, Pirker v. Huerta, involved a Swiss drone operator who was fined $10,00 for recklessly piloting a drone during the filming of a commercial for the University of Virginia. Though the FAA has sent numerous orders to cease drone operations, Raphael Pirker was the first to be hit with a fine for violating the ban.
Before this week’s ruling, the FAA was scheduled to set new drone rules by September 2015, when it had hoped to develop a clear plan to safely integrate the technology into commercial airspace. But last month federal regulators told lawmakers the agency likely wouldn’t be ready to fully integrate by that target, following a pattern of missed deadlines set by Congress.
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After more than a month of back and forth, a failed bill, and GOP embarrassment, the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus has announced that it will support the Obamacare replacement legislation in its most recent iteration. Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the caucus, said the roughly 30 members of the caucus view this compromise as the best option short of a full repeal. A recent amendment, authored by Meadows and Rep. Tom McArthur, co-chair of the more moderate Tuesday Group, would allow states to apply for waivers exempting them from provisions forbidding insurers from charging higher prices to those with pre-existing conditions if the state set up a high-risk pool. The plan's passage in the House is not a done deal though, as a number of moderate lawmakers have resisted supporting the amendment.
"A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf. The incident happened Monday as the vessel closed to within 1,000 meters of the USS Mahan, "despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it." After attempting to contact the Iranian vessel and sounding its whistle, it deployed the flare. After that, the ship had had enough and turned away.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick's district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."