Fight School's Wait – AB48, AB1889 the Debacle

UPDATE – The bill was vetoed – no surprise to CALPILOTS –
September 15, 2010 CALIFORNIA’S FLIGHT INSTRUCTION WOES UPDATE AB 1889 (Portantino) Private postsecondary education Act of 2009. This bill is expected to be vetoed by the Governor of California on or before September 30, 2010.

Should the bill be vetoed, thousands of California’s flight instructors and hundreds of flight schools will feel the pain. The option will be to quit rather than be subject to disciplinary action, some may move out of state, others will fade away.

On the other hand, if by some chance the Governor signs it, AB 1889 would give a nine month moratorium from regulatory oversight – allowing a reprieve and hardly enough time to right a wrong.

Here is the good part of the text; “This bill would prohibit the bureau (BPPE), for the period of July 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011, inclusive, from enforcing the act against institutions certified to offer educational programs in flight instruction and aircraft maintenance by the Federal Aviation Administration”.

Here is a not so good part (self-reporting); “The bill would also require those institutions to notify the bureau (BPPE) if they operate during that time period.”

Here is a really bad part (veto magnet), unrelated to flight instruction; “(6) Existing law appropriates $580,000 from the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Administration Fund to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, for the purpose of funding 5 private postsecondary education specialist and senior specialist positions.

This bill would require those positions to be permanent, full-time positions to perform work in conformity with the classification specifications as directed by the bureau chief.” Paragraph (6), was backed and forced into the bill by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) disregarding that its primary purpose is to fix a legislative error – the SEIU is said to be helping themselves by this amendment using the flight instruction’s urgent need for a cease fire, their rationale being that the Governor will give way due to the negative impact on California’s aviation.

But California is on a tight budget, it is a shot in the dark, it won’t fly – the Governor will kill anything that increases costs– Oh well, the SEIU has nothing to lose (Editor’s Note: and clearly the SEIU cares only about itself versus the thousands of jobs their actions will adversely affect).

In closing, we have spent many hours studying the new laws affecting flight instruction and their implication, some say it applies to CFIs, some say it does not. We all agree that it is a bad law. We have contacted the FAA Administrator, a long list of legislators, the AOPA President, JETWHINE, SAFE, CALPILOTS, AVWEB, EAA, YAA, news media and gathered excellent information and guidance from other sources.

We have held discussion and informational meetings with CFIs and pilots in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) and in the SOCAL area requesting their cooperation and involvement. The response was consistently good, leaving some shaking their heads in disbelief but willing to continue to take action as Bill AB 1889, as muddled as it is, has created some optimism – whether the bill AB 1889 passes or not the struggle will continue.

Rafael Sierra, President

Palm Springs Pilots Association

Editor’s Note: After reading this summary it is clear why the state is in such financial trouble – even on the brink of bankruptcy, legislators and government employee unions are still trying to stack the deck in their favor. The question needs to be asked – why do we need BPPE?

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