AOPA Battles State Legislatures
State governments seem hell-bent on adding a hefty price to the cost of flying and AOPA has recently stepped up its fight against such measures. For starters, the Ohio House has inserted a previously deleted measure into its version of the state budget that would hike the registration fee for general aviation aircraft a whopping 800 percent. AOPA President Phil Boyer called on Ohio Gov. Bob Taft to exercise his line-item veto and eliminate the drastic jump. "That pilot has been paying about $12 to register his single-engine four-seat aircraft," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "He's now going to have to pay $100; exactly the same as a major airline would for a 747 or an Airbus 340." In New Jersey, the organization is concerned about a bill to require identity background checks for flight students. AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula sent a letter to the speaker of the Jersey General Assembly, arguing against the bill. "Using 'watch list' databases maintained by the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence agencies, the list of licensed pilots is thoroughly reviewed by federal officials to look for persons of interest who may be impacted by this rule," Cebula wrote. In both cases, the original legislation had been deferred, only to resurface in new bills, keeping legislators and groups like AOPA on their toes.