- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota drone enthusiasts may be able to skip some expense and paperwork under a bill that flew through its first legislative test.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send to the full chamber a bill that would exempt some unmanned aircraft from state registration requirements.

The measure introduced at the request of the state Department of Transportation would excuse the owners of drones weighing less than 55 pounds from being required to register them as aircraft.

Department Secretary Darin Bergquist says that would save drone owners an original registration tax of 4 percent of the purchase price and a $25 annual registration fee.

He says drones currently must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Bergquist says some estimates say there are up to 6,000 drones in South Dakota.

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