FAA FINAL DRONE RULES
KLC has been closely monitoring the developments of drone-use regulation nationwide and would like to share a recent development with our members.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), on June 22, announced its long awaited final rules for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones. These rules represent a significant victory for public safety. In this action the FAA has unequivocally announced its rejection of pre-emption of state and local ordinances in the area of drone regulation. The FAA acknowledged the important role of state and local regulation, stating “certain legal aspects concerning small UAS use may be best addressed at the state or local level.”
The new rules put in place a number of new regulations, including hours of operation, height and line of sight requirements. For example, the drone may fly 400 feet above ground level, or, under the final rules, go higher than 400 feet if it remains within 400 feet of a structure.
The findings by the FAA will allow our cities to regulate in these areas to require stricter guidelines than what the FAA does. We are monitoring this development to see how cities nationwide will respond to this new power.
Here is the summary of the new rules governing drone operation:
KLC will continue to closely monitor this ever-evolving area of the law and we will continue to keep you apprised of all developments.
If you have any questions, contact Chris Johnson - KLC Member Legal Services Attorney at 859-977-3709 or email@example.com
Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona Sample Ordinance Now Available
A sample ordinance incorporating the new standard of municipal sign regulation set forth in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (135 S.Ct 2218) is now available! In this “blockbuster” case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that regulating signage on the basis of categories, where each category is treated differently, is an unconstitutional content-based regulation. Many, if not most, cities must now revise their sign codes. Check out this sample ordinance that can be used as a basis to bring your code up to compliance and avoid First Amendment headaches!
If you have questions about Reed or the sample ordinance, contact KLC Member Legal Services at 800-876-4552.
6th Circuit Upholds Local Right-To-Work Ordinance
On November 18, 2016, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that had invalidated a county right-to-work ordinance. The Hardin County ordinance, like many others enacted in Kentucky, prohibits employers from requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment.
The lower court had ruled that the ordinance was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which broadly preempts right-to-work laws except for those specifically authorized in Section 14(b) of the Act. The lower court had held that Section 14(b), which allows states to enact right-to-work laws, was not intended to include the local laws of political subdivisions. The 6th Circuit disagreed, holding that because Congress in Section 14(b) “expressly excepted a particular type of state law from preemption, it can hardly be deemed to have intended to nonetheless preempt such laws of the state’s political subdivisions absent a clear statement to that effect.” In other words, to overcome the traditional rights of states to delegate authority to their political subdivisions, the federal law must state a clear purpose to preempt local authority. Otherwise, a local right-to-work ordinance is “state law” under the NLRA and is not preempted. The 6th Circuit did, however, agree with the lower court that the Hardin County ordinance’s prohibitions of hiring-hall agreements (clearing prospective employees through a labor organization) and dues-checkoff provisions (deductions of union charges from compensation unless the employee has authorized the deductions in writing) are not included in the Section 14(b) exception, and are therefore preempted by the NLRA.
Both federal and state interpretations of the NLRA indicate cities, like counties, are considered “political subdivisions.” In light of the 6th Circuit ruling, local governments can now legally enact right-to-work ordinances that comply with Section 14(b) of the NLRA.
For more information, contact the KLC Member Legal Services Department.
Important Information from the Kentucky Retirement Systems for Cities Regarding the Reemployment of Retired Police Officers
SB 206, currently codified as KRS 95.022, and effective July 15, 2016, provides that qualified retired police officers employed by a city shall continue to receive the benefits they were eligible to receive upon retirement, but shall not accrue any additional retirement or health benefits during reemployment. Additionally, retirement and any health contributions shall not be paid by the city to the KRS or the Kentucky Employees Health Plan on the reemployed retired officer.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems has released information on the restrictions, qualifications and the required KRS forms for cities that hire or currently have hired retired sworn police officers or state troopers. That information is located here.
For any questions on SB 206 contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, Personnel Services Specialist at 800.876.4552.
IMPORTANT HR NEWS! Increase In Salary Level for Exempt Employees Will Affect 2016-2017 City Budgets
Weekly HR News – Budgets
Increase In Salary Level for Exempt Employees Will Affect 2016-2017 City Budgets
By now, most of you have heard about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) changes to the regulations that mandate which executive, administrative, and professional employees are entitled to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay protections. The current regulations were last updated in 2004, and stated that an employee must make at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to be exempt from overtime. With the new change, which is effective December 1, 2016, the DOL has updated the salary level required for exemption to $913 per week ($47,746 annually), with automatic increases every three years to maintain the level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage census region.
Both KLC and the National League of Cities (NLC) are very aware of the impact that these changes have on cities and as such, submitted comments last August in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The two primary recommendations were (1) to use a regional approach (due to variations in pay based on location) and (2) to implement the change over the course of three years. Here is an excerpt from the Final Rule discussing the concerns:
“After considering the comments, the Department has made several changes from the proposed rule to the Final Rule. In particular, the Department has modified the standard salary level to more fully account for the lower salaries paid in certain regions. In this Final Rule, the Department sets the standard salary level equal to the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region (currently the South).”
What does this mean for city budgets right now? Any of your employees that are currently making less than $913 per week would be entitled to overtime for any hours worked over 40. As cities begin budget preparations for the coming fiscal year they should include the increased overtime costs based on the passage of this rule or consider an increase in wages for employees that may be close to the threshold. If there is any increase in compensation, keep in mind any possible pension spiking issues that may result.
The Department of Labor is offering several free webinars to review these changes. More information on the webinars can be found on the DOL website. In addition, KLC is offering an all-day training June 1 that will offer in-depth discussions on this topic as well as many others. Information and registration for Part I of this training can be found on the KLC website.
If you have any questions about this or need any additional information contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, KLC personnel services specialist.
Maximum Pay, COLA Set by DLG
The Department for Local Government (DLG) recently issued the cost of living adjustment (COLA) to set the increase in maximum mayor and legislative body member pay for 2016. The maximum yearly pay for mayors of home rule class cities and all legislative body members is $71,447.80. The cost of living adjustment used to calculate that increase was 0.7 percent. Although many cities incorporate the COLA from DLG in their budgets, the state-approved COLA is not mandatory for cities.
With questions, contact:
Joseph W. Coleman, Research and Federal Relations Manager
Kentucky League of Cities