April 2006

GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D. C. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey says she can't tell the Senate whether user fees are planned for all or part of general aviation. Blakey told the Senate Aviation Subcommittee that because the funding package is currently under review by the Administration, she couldn't talk about what, if any, user fees might be imposed (although I suspect that if they weren't being imposed she'd be able to say that). But she did say the current method of funding doesn't work. "At this point, our concern is that we are able to tie the costs of the system to the revenue and come up with a stable, cost-based system." She told the subcommittee.

Secondly, Nobody said it was going to be easy but a negotiated settlement between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association seems remote at best. Not only are the two sides far apart on the overriding issue of controller pay, they can't even agree on whether or not they're still talking. About all they can agree on is that there will be some kind of meeting on Tuesday April 11, 2006. What is set to take place at the meeting is a matter of widely varying opinion. "We don't consider the talks to be broken down," FAA spokesman Greg Martin said last Saturday. Mr. Martin hinted the purported end of negotiations on Friday was less than spontaneous. He noted that the NATA had issued a news release on the developments barely 20 minutes after the meeting broke up, saying it was "the fastest turnaround" for a press release he's ever seen.

Thirdly, While issues like modernization, contracting out and working conditions have been discussed; these negotiations were (like most negotiations) about money, pure and simple, according to Marion Blakey. "The differences between us are not minor," Blakey said.
She said the agency is determined to bring controller salaries in line with other civil servants both for practical and philosophical reasons. She said controller salaries are a major factor in the FAA's spiraling costs and that controllers, in general, make far more money than other FAA employees. She said the FAA's offer won't result in any existing controllers losing any pay, but it will start new hires at substantially less. The Union says her math is wrong and cuts contained in the offer will send thousands of controllers into retirement, affecting, safety.

Fourthly, Here's an update concerning Missouri Aviation. The only Airport and Aviation Bills are as follows:
93rd General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session (2006)

Bills Indexed by Subject

HB 1529 --- Sponsor: Storch, Rachel
Requires statewide elected officials and the General Assembly to report any use of a private plane, the cost of the flight, and the passengers aboard the flight within 72 hours after the flight

HB 2005 --- Sponsor: Aull, Joe
Specifies the purposes for which the Civil Air Patrol may be used and clarifies the employment status of air patrol members and the sources of funding for various missions

SB 767
--- Sponsor: Graham, Chuck
Requires Office of Administration and Highway Patrol to oversee use of state aircraft and places restrictions on certain state officers with respect to use of state aircraft.

Note: Here's your web site address for Texas Legislation:
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Note: Here's your web site address for Illinois Legislation:
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Now, In Conclusion, Remember, we as USPA, MPA, EAA, AOPA, or any other State Pilot Associations of which you may be a member, all have a powerful voice, be it here in Missouri, Indiana, Texas, or whatever state you may represent. Every group of pilots and taxpayers carries a strong voice to Washington, D.C., and on the State and Local Level.

So Let's not forget to exercise our privileges, and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."



Larry G. Harmon
Legislation Chairman
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