AP

Journalists within five miles of a major airport will be able to get "instant authorization" to fly drones in controlled airspace, Poynter writes. This is good news for reporters who want to use drones for a birds-eye view of an unfolding story or to monitor areas of interest (a la the aerial photo of Chris Christie on a beach after closing beaches to the public).

Why it matters: "The single largest impediment to journalists using drones for breaking news is access to airspace," Matt Waite, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska, told Poynter. "When it can take months to get approval from the FAA, that just doesn't work for most news uses. This is a giant leap toward drones being a common part of your local news."

  • The FAA is rolling out facility maps that will give pilots a decent idea of whether they'll get waiver approval before requesting.
  • It will start what is called Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, or LAANC, in select cities such as Cincinnati, Phoenix and Miami. 50 cities will be included by the end of the year.
  • The new process will take into account how much the airspace is, the weather, local restrictions and public safety considerations.

Go deeper

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

McConnell announces Senate will adjourn until Sept. 8

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that the Senate will not hold any more votes until Sept. 8, though members will remain on 24-hour notice in case a coronavirus stimulus deal is reached.

Why it matters: With millions of Americans unemployed, the Trump administration and Democrats remain hopelessly deadlocked and unlikely to reach a deal any time soon.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump vows to block stimulus funding for mail-in voting and USPS

President Trump on Thursday told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo that Democratic demands to fund mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service in ongoing coronavirus stimulus negotiations were a non-starter.

Why it matters: Trump directly linked Democrats' desired $3.6 billion for mail-in voting and $25 billion for the USPS to his continued baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.