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The States Continue with New Legislation

State Legislatures around the country are continuing to work on current proposals or introduce new legislation affecting local flight operations and student pilots. In some cases the proposals are relatively harmless from the standpoint of soaring. SSA continues to monitor these developments. In several states SSA members have used this information to contact local legislators with the goal of making sure that gliding operations are not unduly affected by the new laws. We urge you to read this update and take the initiative in your area if necessary. You may contact the SSA for further information and assistance.

SSA State Legislative Update
April 18, 2002

CALIFORNIA AB2719 was introduced February 22 as generic legislation regarding aviation system planning; the bill was amended in the Assembly on April 20 to focus on airport security. Among other things, the revised bill would establish a California Transportation Commission which would report annually to the legislature on issues specifically including progress on meeting airport safety and security needs. Beginning in July, 2004, the bill proposes that $10 million annually be made available for grants to certain public use general aviation airports. On April 15, the amended bill was re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Transportation.

In an apparently related vein, SB 1533 proposes to add to the Public Utilities Code provisions addressing safety and security related airport improvement grants. This bill is scheduled for a public hearing on May 7.

DELAWARE House Concurrent Resolution 36 was introduced and passed the Delaware House on March 27, urging the State's congressional delegation to support proposed federal legislation which seeks to require background checks for all enrollees in civilian pilot and aircraft maintenance training schools. (NOTE: the resolution refers to House Resolution 2957, introduced September 25, 2001 in the US House of Representatives by MD representative Michael N. Castle. This federal proposal, referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, seeks to expand the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (enacted 11-19-01) to all flight training and aircraft maintenance functions.

FLORIDA House Bill 329 was enrolled and forwarded to the Governor March 10, formalizing the State's support of NASA's "Small Aircraft Transportation System" ("SATS") program. This program is coordinated by NASA's General Aviation Programs Office, based at Langley Research Center, VA. SATS is "...a new research & development program focused on maturing technologies needed for a small aircraft transportation system (SATS). The projectús initial focus is to prove that four new operating capabilities will enable safe and affordable access to virtually any runway in the nation in most weather conditions. These new operating capabilities rely on on-board computing, advanced flight controls, Highway in the Sky displays, and automated air traffic separation and sequencing technologies." (Read more about SATS at sats.larc.nasa.gov/overview_sats.html

GEORGIA On February 13, the Georgia House Committee on Transportation reported favorably on House Bill 1060, proposing to enact the Transportation Safety Act of 2002. Among other things, this bill provides that "... a person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he or she carries to or while at a public gathering, possesses, or has under his or her control any explosive compound, destructive device, or hoax device as defined in Code Section 16-7-80; firearm, or knife; hazardous substance as defined by Code Section 12-8-92; or knife or other device designed or modified for the purpose of offense and defense.

Further, "For the purpose of this Code section, úpublic gatheringú shall include... terminals operated for public transportation, as defined in Code Section 16-12-122."

Also, except for specified law enforcement and security personnel, "Any person who boards or attempts to board a an aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle with a dangerous or deadly weapon prohibited item, as set forth in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-127, concealed on or about his or her person or his property which is or would be accessible to such person while on the aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle shall be guilty of a felony..."

MICHIGAN Senate Bills 934 and 1006 are continuing through the legislative process; each takes effect only if the other is also enacted. Proposed effective date is 5-1-02.

S 934 requires background checks & fingerprinting of all flight training candidates; the amended bill specifies that the flight school may charge the student to recoup costs.

S 1006 requires an annual $25 licensing fee for flight schools, provides for background checks and fingerprinting of prospective students and requires that the flight school shall:

- be operated from an airport properly licensed by the (Michigan State Aeronautics) Commission
- obtain from the airport manager a written agreement to operate commercially from the airport
- provide permanent facilities at the licensed airport for both flight school activities and record keeping
- provide an instructor to "dispatch & supervise" each student solo flight
- maintain student training records at the school, making these available to the Commission at its request SSA members led by efforts of SSA Director Jack Wyman are working with the Legislative staff to minimize the negative impact this proposed legislation might have on soaring operations in Michigan.

MARYLAND HB 1005 WITHDRAWN, 3-13-2002 after a public hearing; also withdrawn was HB 1208, offered by the same sponsor, which sought to require background checks & fingerprinting for airport employees and prospective student pilots. On the back burner - after an unfavorable review by Commerce & Government Matters - is a proposal for the State to adopt land use standards & guidelines for General Aviation airports. Note: This bill, HB 1209, would duplicate many/most FAA standards & guidelines.

SOUTH DAKOTA SB 32, requiring photo identification for all aeronautics operations and increasing an existing (State) pilot registration fee was apparently signed by the Governor on 2-28-02. The SD legislative site provides no update on the development of procedures to implement the new law.

IDAHO SB 1325 was signed into law on 3-22-02, making it a misdemeanor to knowingly carry a concealed or unconcealed weapon when entering or attempting to enter the "sterile" area of an airport, including such weapon(s) carried aboard any aircraft in baggage. Willful and intentional concealment of any such weapon constitutes a felony.

NEW YORK AO9728 remains in committee since its introduction in January. The bill would require pilots in NY State to be 17 years or older. A teenager's apparent suicide flight in Florida is cited as the inspiration for this legislation.SSA members in New York including Chairman Tim Welles and members of the Harris Hill Soaring Corp. in Elmira are working hard to have this bill amended as it would have a dramtic affect on youth soaring activities.

SOUTH CAROLINA S0799 remains in the Transportation committee, after introduction in January. The Bill, as originally proposed, would require -

- recipients of flight instruction to hold driver's licenses issued by SC, NC, GA or TN
- prospective student pilots to submit to background and fingerprint checks
- flight schools and instructors to provide information to the FBI & INS for any non-US citizen who is a prospective student, and provide monthly updates on any non-citizens in training

NEW JERSEY A1649 and S432 (formerly A3893 and S2650) would disqualify certain persons from receiving flight instruction and institute background checks for student pilots. The bills were amended and reported upon favorably by the Senate Transportation Committee and have been returned to the Assembly Transportation Committee. Current wording is online at
www.njleg.state.nj.us/2002/Bills/S0500/432_R1.HTM

If you need assistance or have questions please contact the SSA at info@ssa.org

End of report.

Posted: 4/18/2002 By: General News


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