Background Check Law Under Fire

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Michigan's student pilot criminal background law is under fire, again, this time from within. State Rep. Steven Ehardt (R-Dist 83) has proposed an amendment that would overturn the background check requirement that was passed by the state last year. AOPA, which is challenging the same law in court, helped Ehardt draft the amendment, which would replace the language requiring the background checks with requirements for security programs, identification of students and training students to be vigilant and report suspicious activity anywhere around an airport. The FAA and TSA have criticized the Michigan law. Both agencies claim that student pilot eligibility and aviation security issues are federal jurisdiction. The federal agencies contend that allowing states to implement their own rules on such matters would result in inconsistent regulations from state to state. AOPA intends to use testimony from both agencies in its court battle to overturn the law. Of course, if Erhardt's amendment is passed, that will save everyone a lot of time and money. The proposed amendment is currently before the state's House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.