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Mon, Feb 21, 2005

AOPA Reviews More Than 6,600 Proposed State Laws

Looking Out For Pilots On A State-By-State Basis

If you think wading through the FARs is tough, imagine how mind numbing it must be to read more than 6,600 proposed bills in 50 state legislatures. But that's exactly what your AOPA regional affairs staff has been doing since the first of this year to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises for general aviation lurking within the fine print.

"But we're not just looking to stop bills that could harm GA," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "We're also lobbying hard in many state legislatures for bills that provide benefits for general aviation."

One of AOPA's long-term goals is to get laws enacted in every state to provide zoning protection for airports, such as the legislation currently moving forward in Minnesota. Another is universal real estate disclosure, where potential homebuyers would have to be told that there is an existing airport nearby. Such laws make it much harder for homeowners to later claim that the airport is a "nuisance" they didn't know about.

The person tasked with keeping track of all of the state legislative issues is Owen Sweeney, AOPA manager of regional affairs. Sweeney recently joined the AOPA staff from the nation's leading state government relations consulting firm.

Of the 6,661 bills reviewed so far, Sweeney is continuing to monitor about 240 that may have some interest to AOPA members. There are 107 bills so far in the various state legislatures that have a direct impact on general aviation.

"We've been contacting lawmakers and testifying before committees as necessary to protect the interests of our members," said Cohen. "And at the appropriate time, we may ask members to weigh in with their state legislators on a particular bill. Watch ePilot for updates."

FMI: www.aopa.org

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