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SSA Monitoring State by State Developments

State by State Review

Updated March 5, 2002

Following September 11th many states began examining new security proposals many of which involve background checks on student pilots. SSA is monitoring these developments for the purpose of responding to those which present unacceptable restraints or costs for soaring without delivering any increased security value. Following is an updated report from several states currently developing new regulations. SSA will be responding to any and all that present a problem for soaring pilots and schools.

If you have any comments concerning these reports please e-mail the SSA office at feedback@ssa.org.


MICHIGAN

Info page online at:
http://www.michiganlegislature.org/mileg.asp?page=getObject&objName=2002-SB-1006&userid=

SB 1006 online at:
http://www.michiganlegislature.org/documents/2001-2002/billengrossed/senate/pdf/2002-SEBS-1006.pdf

(excerpts from staff analysis follow)

THE CONTENT OF THE BILLS:

The bills would amend the Aeronautics Code to require that criminal history checks be completed before training applicants were formally enrolled in flight school. The bills are tie-barred to each other so that neither could become law unless the other also were enacted.

Senate Bill 934 would amend the Aeronautics Code (MCL 259.85) to require that a flight school request from the Department of State Police criminal records division a criminal history check, and a criminal records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on any applicant for training at the flight school. The school would have to require the applicant to submit his or her fingerprints for the criminal checks. The department could charge a fee for the criminal check.

Within 30 days after receiving a request from a flight school, the department would have to conduct the criminal history check, initiate the criminal records check, and provide a report of the results to the flight school.

A flight school could enroll an applicant as a conditional student, without first receiving the report, if the applicant signed a statement identifying all crimes for which he or she had been convicted. If the statement included a felony conviction or incarceration, probation, or parole for a felony conviction within the preceding seven years, the enrollment contract would be void. If the report were not the same as the applicant's statement, the flight school would have to void the applicant's enrollment contract, the enrollment would be terminated, and the school would not be liable for the termination or any money paid toward enrollment.

A flight school could use the information received from the department to evaluate an applicant's qualification for enrollment or compare the information to that in a conditional student's statement of criminal convictions, or if an applicant had agreed to provide the report to a representative of another flight school. A violation of this disclosure provision would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500.

Senate Bill 1006 would amend the Aeronautics Code (MCL 259.85) to require that a flight school request from the Department of State Police criminal records division a criminal history check, and a criminal records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on any applicant for training at the flight school.

A flight school applicant would have to cooperate with the school in completing the criminal history and criminal records checks. If, in the preceding seven years, the applicant had been convicted of a felony, or had been incarcerated, on parole, or on probation for a felony conviction, the flight school could not enroll the applicant or would have to terminate his or her enrollment.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

... The only way to accurately verify a person's identity, and therefore establish his or her criminal background, is to do a fingerprint check at the national level. Only the FBI can process fingerprints and conduct such a search (several states retain their own database of fingerprints and those states will run a search and report back to the FBI). Under current state law, only the Criminal Justice Information Center within the Department of State Police can submit fingerprints to the FBI for non-criminal justice purposes and receive the FBI report. Upon a request for a national fingerprint search, the department first runs a fingerprint check for Michigan convictions, then sends the report and fingerprints to the FBI. According to a representative of the FBI, there is a 24-hour turn around on criminal background checks for civil purposes (two hours for criminal investigations), with a few extra days needed to search the records maintained by individual states.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

The House Fiscal Agency notes that with regard to Senate Bills 934 and 1006, the Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics estimates that 2,600 individuals apply for a first-time commercial drivers license annually. Senate Bill 934 would allow the Department of State Police to charge a fee for the required background checks, and the department routinely charges a fee of $39 ($15 for the state-level check and $24 for the federal-level check). Annual fee revenue and associated expenditures by the department would therefore increase by an estimated $101,400 under the bills. The agency notes further, that Executive Order 2001-9 raised the state-level portion of the fee from $15 to $30, effective for fiscal year 2001-02 only. If that higher fee were to stay in effect, the revenue/expenditure estimate would increase to $140,400. (2-20-02). The Senate Fiscal Agency notes that Senate Bills 934 and 1006 would have a minimal fiscal impact on the Department of State Police.

Further, the Senate Fiscal Agency notes that with regard to both bills, the Michigan State Aeronautics Commission within the Department of Transportation is responsible for licensing flight schools. However, the bills would not affect the activities of the commission, and therefore would not have a fiscal impact of the Department of Transportation.

SSA Note: Licensing of "flight schools" has been in effect for some time in Michigan. Excerpts from existing state laws follow

AERONAUTICS CODE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN (EXCERPT)
Act 327 of 1945

259.17b "Flight school" defined. [M.S.A. 10.117(2) ]
Sec. 17b. "Flight school" means any person providing or offering to provide flight training leading to pilot or flight instructor certification, for hire or compensation, and engaged in any of the following: (a) Advertising or calling oneself a flight school or anything equivalent to a flight school.
(b) Hiring, contracting, or otherwise using 1 or more flight instructors in an endeavor described in this section.
(c) Providing aircraft for the purposes of flight training.
History: Add. 1996, Act 370, Imd. Eff. July 3, 1996 .

259.18 "Flying club" defined. [M.S.A. 10.118 ]
Sec. 18. "Flying club" means any group of persons owning, leasing, or operating 1 or more aircraft, not for profit or reward, and using the aircraft for the purpose of providing its members with an aircraft for their personal use and enjoyment.
History: 1945, Act 327, Imd. Eff. May 28, 1945 ;--CL 1948, 259.18 ;--Am. 1996, Act 370, Imd. Eff. July 3, 1996 .

MARYLAND

General Assembly online at
http://mlis.state.md.us/

HB 1005 online at
http://mlis.state.md.us/2002rs/billfile/HB1005.htm

HEARING SCHEDULED 3-12 @ 1 pm

Background checks, fingerprints for "Air School" students, EXCEPT those offered by MD State schools. (!) Apparently inapplicable to already rated pilots/instructors. "Air School" is defined as "any person who, whether or not for compensation, gives or offers to give instruction in flying or in ground subjects relating to aeronautics."
"Synopsis:
Prohibiting an air school from instructing a student who has not been approved by the Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration; requiring a prospective student to submit an application, fingerprints, and specified fees to the Administration; requiring the application to contain specified information; requiring the Executive Director to conduct a specified State and national criminal background investigation; specifying standards for approval of applications; and requiring specified notification."

SOUTH DAKOTA

Legislature online at
http://legis.state.sd.us/index.cfm

SB 32 forwarded to Governor 2-28 online at
http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2002/bills/SB32enr.htm

Apparently signed into law on 2-28-2002, this new law entails a $5 increase in the EXISTING registration fee for pilots and requires a (maximum) $10 state-issued photo ID for airport/ FBO employees. Unclear whether the ID applies to all airports. Procedures TBD.

AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require photo identification for all aeronautics operations, to increase the pilot registration fee, and to declare an emergency.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That § 50-11-24 be amended to read as follows:

50-11-24. Any person operating any aircraft within this state shall, except as otherwise expressly provided, biennially, on or before the thirty-first day of March, register with the secretary of transportation, the person's federal airman's certificate issued under the authority of the United States and shall biennially pay to the secretary a fee of twenty dollars. Failure to register and pay the fee before the time set by this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A certificate showing the registration may be issued by the secretary as the Aeronautics Commission deems proper. The commission may prescribe requirements for the possession and exhibition of the certificate.

Section 2. That chapter 50-11 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

Any airport employee, airline employee, and any employee of a fixed base operator or a charter service, unless otherwise required by federal law or regulation, shall have in possession while on duty at the airport a state-issued photo identification badge. The Aeronautics Commission shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 1-26 specifying display of the badge; indications on the badge regarding the scope of the person's access and movement privileges at an airport; personal information including full name, employer, and identification number; procedures regarding the production, issuance, retrieval, and replacement of badges; and the length of time for which the badge is valid.

The commission shall, by rules promulgated pursuant to chapter 1-26, establish the fee for a badge. The fee shall be based on the cost to produce the badge but may not exceed ten dollars. Any fee collected shall be deposited into the state aeronautics fund.

Section 3. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.

CONNECTICUT

Legislature online at
http://www.cga.state.ct.us/asp/CGABillInfo/CGABillInfoRequest.asp

Search on "flight" and "flight school" yield no bills in the current session. A search on "aviation" yields the following bill:

Proposed Bill 5372: AN ACT PROVIDING FUNDS TO MUNICIPALITIES IN WHICH GENERAL AVIATION AIRPORTS ARE LOCATED FOR SECURITY OVERTIME EXPENSES.

IDAHO

Legislature online at
http://www2.state.id.us/legislat/legislat.html

Senate Joint Memorial at
http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/SJM111.html

The legislature urges the US Congress and the FAA to "require flight instructors, airport operators and those who rent aircraft to require positive proof of identification and background checks on all persons seeking pilot training or seeking to rent aircraft." Introduced 2-11-02, this measure was defeated 2-22-02 by a 14-13 vote, with 8 absent.

NEW YORK

Legislature online at
http://assembly.state.ny.us/

Bill online at
http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A09691

Bill AO 9691 "Relates to the establishment of background checks related to flight simulators; provides that no person or business shall sell, lease or transfer possession of any flight simulator to any person or business without performing a criminal background check; provides for a maximum fine of five thousand dollars." This bill turns up in searches on "aviation" and "flight;" no results came back in searches on "aeronautics," "flight training" or "flight school." On 1-22-02, this bill was referred to economic development.

OKLAHOMA

Legislature online at
http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/

Search on "aviation" turns up 42 bills, including:

HOUSE BILL HB2755 (a general order, apparently adopted)

An Act relating to aircraft and airports; amending 3 O.S. 2001, Section 85, which relates to powers and duties of the Commission; adding requirement that airport employees submit to certain criminal background investigations; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.

In particular:

(3) a. All airports in this state that hire employees shall require all new applicants for employment to submit to a criminal background investigation conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation before beginning employment.
b. Prior to December 1, 2002, all current employees of airports in this state shall submit to the same criminal background investigation as is required for new employees pursuant to subparagraph a of this paragraph.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Legislature online at
http://www.scstatehouse.net/

S 0799 online at
http://www.scstatehouse.net/bills/799.htm

Search on aeronautics turns up S 0799, introduced 12-12-2001. This bill was referrred to the Transportation committee on 1-8-02. (Current status not available online) Note hefty fines !

Summary, S 0799 General Bill:

A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 55-5-125 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR AIR SCHOOLS AND AIR INSTRUCTORS TO PROVIDE AIR INSTRUCTION TO A STUDENT WITHOUT REQUIRING THE STUDENT TO PRESENT CERTAIN INFORMATION TO THE AIR SCHOOL OR AIR INSTRUCTOR, TO REQUIRE AIR SCHOOLS AND AIR INSTRUCTORS TO PROVIDE CERTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT UNITED STATES CITIZENS TO CERTAIN FEDERAL AGENCIES AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY.

In text:

"(A) All air schools and air instructors as defined in this chapter that provide air instruction must not provide instruction to a student who:
(1) does not possess a valid South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, or Tennessee driver's license; and
(2) has not successfully passed both a State Law Enforcement Division and Federal Bureau of Investigation background and fingerprint check.

(B) All air schools and air instructors must provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service the name, Social Security card number, United States Immigration and Naturalization Service number, and green card number of any student who is not a United States citizen.

(C) All air schools and air instructors must provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation the training status of its students who are not United States citizens on a monthly basis, and provide the agency the names of its graduates who are not United States citizens.

(D) An air school or air instructor that violates a provision contained in this section must be fined not less than ten thousand dollars for each violation.û

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

VIRGINIA

Legislature online at
http://legis.state.va.us/BillsAndResolutions/FullTextSearch.htm

House Resolution online at
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?021+ful+HJ12

Pre-filed 12- 10-2001 and offered 1-09-02, House Joint Resolution 12 was unanimously approved on 2-1-02 and referred to the rules committee. The resolution seeks that Congress "be hereby memorialized urgently to require additional proof of identity and other documentation from aliens who seek to undergo flight instruction in the United States, in order to reduce the possibility that American flight schools will again be used to train terrorists; and, be it RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit copies of this resolution to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, and the members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation in order that they may be apprised of the sense of the Virginia General Assembly in this matter."

NEW JERSEY

Legislature online at
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

A3893 introduced in the Assembly 11-8-01, identical to S2650, introduced in the Senate; these appear to have been replaced by A1649 introduced in the Assembly on 1-31-02, and this is identical to S432. Referred to the Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees, these bills were (slightly) amended and came up for a second Senate reading on 2-28-02. No further update is available online.

Available online at
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2002/Bills/S0500/432_I1.HTM

Summary: This Bill "Disqualifies certain persons from flight instruction; institutes background checks."

More specifically, "This bill requires an aeronautical facility, flight school, or institution of higher learning offering air or flight instruction to maintain a permanent register of applicants. The register, which is also to be maintained by the State, is to contain the applicant's name, address, citizenship status, a form of photographic identification and such other information as the Commissioner of Transportation may require. The register would be available for inspection by the commissioner or federal, State or local law enforcement officers. In addition the applicant would be required to provide fingerprints and be subject to an identity background and criminal history record background check. An applicant would have to be determined qualified by the commissioner in order to receive air or flight instruction. An applicant would be disqualified if he had been convicted of certain crimes. The crimes enumerated in the bill are those contained in section 6 of P.L.1979, c.179 (C.2C:39-7), prohibiting certain persons from having weapons. This would facilitate a rapid check for the offenses since a data base is already in existence to check the criminal history of those who wish to purchase weapons in New Jersey. This bill is necessary for the protection of the public since it appears that the terrorists piloting planes which destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 had received flight instruction in the United States."

End of document (March 5, 2002)

Posted: 3/5/2002 By: General News


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