MPA LEGISLATION REPORT
GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D.C. As 2002 draws to a close, AOPA staff members remain
nearly as busy as in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, dealing with a whole group
of players who are attempting to regulate where, or if, you will be allowed to fly in the National Airspace System
(NAS). Professional sports entities are pressing to prohibit flights near stadiums despite new rules from the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) and the FAA. Security officials are demanding huge sections of restricted airspace
around areas visited by President Bush, and state and local governments are attempting to impose their own restrictions
on who can fly.
One issue is who controls the NAS? AOPA is working with members of Congress, the FAA, and security agencies such as the TSA and the Secret Service to ensure that the FAA retains regulatory control, and that the regulations create as little burden for pilots as possible, given national security concerns.
But recent attempts to regulate the NAS by some in Congress, as well as state and local lawmakers, could create a patchwork of conflicting laws and regulations threatening safety and security.
Earlier this fall, the FAA issued notams establishing 30-nautical mile rings of restricted airspace around the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas, and a retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Each time, there were a significant number of incursions by General Aviation pilots. AOPA responded by urging a two-pronged approach to address FAA concerns, including a reduction in the size and scope of presidential temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and second, improvement in communications with pilots operating from within TFR areas.
"AOPA asks stakeholders within the federal government to adopt a more reasonable approach to this problem, one that mitigates the impact on airspace users and airports by soliciting active input of the civil aviation community," AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula said in a letter. In September, sports entities opposed to flights near their events found a Capitol Hill champion in Rep.Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who has sought to wrest control of airspace over stadiums by denying the FAA funding for waivers allowing such flights. The effect of the legislation would be to shut down all GA flying at some 55 airports located near stadiums during sporting events. AOPA Legislative Affairs staffers are working closely with friends of GA on Capitol Hill to counter Upton's effort. Several members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have written letters to the head of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young (R-Fla.), saying his committee should not "summarily rescind" the stadium notam without a full review by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
AOPA is also challenging state and local efforts to control the nation's airspace. At press time, an AOPA lawsuit arguing that Michigan's law requiring criminal background checks for all pilot training preempts federal jurisdiction is still pending before a federal jurisdiction is still pending before a federal judge. AOPA also sent a letter to members of the San Mateo County, California, Board of Supervisors, alerting them that a new ordinance requiring prospective pilots to under go a background check by the County Sheriff's Office violates the same Federal Supremacy clause that led to the Michigan lawsuit.
AOPA remains committed to working with all levels of government and agencies around the country to preserve Americans' right to fly, while respecting the increased need for security since the terrorist attacks.
Secondly, Here's an update Concerning Missouri Legislation. The Missouri State Senate newly Elected Senators will be officially sworn in and take office on January 8, 2003. There are 12 Newly Elected Senators for 92nd General Assembly. This includes 9 Republicans and 3 Democrats. To view these pages just go to:
Thirdly, The Missouri House of Representatives those Newly Elected will also be officially sworn in and take office on January 8, 2003. For the Member Roster just go to:
The Missouri House of Representatives Web Page still needs updating, as they still have some of last year's information listed.
Fourthly, It is vitally important for you, to know your State Representatives, and Senators. Because very soon we will have several Aviation Bills, that will require everyone's attention. Also, get to know your U.S. Congressman, and U.S. Senators.
Now, In Conclusion, Remember, We as USPA, MPA, AOPA, EAA, or any other Pilot Association Groups, have a powerful voice in Missouri, and Washington, D.C. So Let's exercise that privilege and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."
Until Next Time!
Larry G. Harmon
E-mail address: MPALHARMON@aol.com
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