Category Archives: Drones

June 24, 2022 Weekly Round Up

We’re back with another agricultural law weekly round up.  Here are some of the stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *October will be big for ag law at the US Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court will have their hands full of ag law in October.  The Court will hear arguments in Sackett v. U.S., a case questioning the proper scope of “waters of the United States” as applied to wetlands under the Clean Water Act on October 3.  A week later on October… Read More →

Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Drone Law

A Texas federal judge has stricken down the vast majority of a Texas drone law as unconstitutional.  [Read Order here.] Background The “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute was passed in 2013.  To read a prior blog post reviewing the statute in detail, click here.  This lawsuit breaks the challenged provisions into two categories: Surveillance Provisions and No-Fly Provisions. The Surveillance Provisions (Texas Government Code Sections 423.002, .003, .004, and .005) impose criminal and civil penalties for anyone using a drone to capture an image of an individual or… Read More →

May 15, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the ag law front.  Here are some of the cases in the news. *Appellate court finds Texas Central Railroad is a “railroad company” and an “interurban electric railway.”  One of the main legal battles over the proposed high speed rail project in Central Texas has been whether the builder, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. qualifies as a “railroad company” or an “interurban electric railway.”  If so, the company would likely be entitled to use eminent domain to… Read More →

Lawsuit Challenges Texas Drone Law

A lawsuit recently filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas challenges the constitutionality of the Texas “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute. Background This background section will focus on those areas relevant to the lawsuit and will not provide a complete summary of the statute. [Read full statute here and read prior blog post here for a more detailed summary of the statute.] Back in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed the “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute.  This legislation sought to address various issues… Read More →

August 24, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  This week I traveled to Paducah on Tuesday to present on hunting leases at the Cottle County Wildlife Conference.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. * 2015 WOTUS rule now in effect in 26 states, including Texas.  The legal wrangling over the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 WOTUS rule continues.  As you may recall, the EPA previously suspended the implementation of the rule until 2020, giving the agency time to promulgate and publish… Read More →

Overview of Amendments to Use of Unmanned Aircraft Statute

The 85th Legislative Session brought an amendment to the law related to use of unmanned aircraft in Texas.  Importantly for agriculture, the amendment adds confined animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) to the list of “critical infrastructure” facilities to which additional flight limitations apply for many drone operators.  The amendment will go into effect on September 1, 2017. This post will review, in detail, the current Use of Unmanned Aircraft statute and discuss the most recent amendment.  For those of you not concerned with the specific details, the “Take Away… Read More →

May 26, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Hello from lovely Lubbock, Texas!  I’m here for the always fantastic Texas State Bar Agricultural Law CLE for attorneys.  A huge thanks to course directors, Trace Blair and David Waggoner, for all of their hard work to make this such a great conference.  As always, I’ve enjoyed great presentations, visited with old friends, and even drummed up some new topics for the blog and guests for upcoming podcasts.  Stay tuned for that! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. *  Federal court finds FAA… Read More →

April 28, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It’s an uncommon occurrence for me, but this week I’ve not been on the road!  I did make a presentation via internet technology to a great group of East Texas producers at the Select Beef Producers Meeting on Wednesday.  To those of you joining from that group, welcome! Here are a few ag law stories in the news this week. * President Trump Issues Executive Order “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America.”  On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order creating the “Interagency Task Force and Agriculture… Read More →

The UAS (“Drone”) Rules Are Here

The long-awaited Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) rules for the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) are here and in effect.  The rules are codified at 14 CFR part 107. History You may recall that back in February 2015, the FAA released its proposed rules, which apply to all UAS weighing between .55 pounds and 55 pounds used for commercial purposes.  [Read prior blog post here.]  After collecting and considering public comment, the FAA issued its final rules on June 21, 2016, which became effective August 29, 2016.  Prior… Read More →

July 8, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news this week. * NM Supreme Court Holds Agricultural Exemption to Workers Compensation Law Unconstitutional.  Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals holding that an exemption excluding farm and ranch laborers from mandatory workers compensation coverage was unconstitutional.  [Read full opinion here.]  I previously wrote a blog post explaining this issue and outlining the Court of Appeals opinion.  To read that, click here.  Although the Court agreed that the provision was unconstitutional, it… Read More →