California Aviation Legislation Important to You

Aviation Legislation On January 12th and 13th John Pfeifer, from Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Tom Weil, representing the Association of California Airports (ACA), Dan Burkhart representing the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and I representing the California Pilots Association (Cal Pilots) and the San Carlos Airport Pilots Association (SCAPA), went to Sacramento to visit with elected representatives in support of State Aviation Issues. The issues below have been identified by the California Transportation Commission and adopted in their recommendations on December 9, 2004 for Aeronautics Legislation. There were three main concerns, which we brought to the legislators:

1. To provide a stable funding source of $15 million per year from the Jet Fuel Sales Tax for the Aeronautics account to be programmed and allocated by the Commission to publicly owned General Aviation Airports for airport security, safety, capacity needs and comprehensive land use compatibility plans.? (The Funding Bill)

2. Amend the California Constitution to limit the use of all Aeronautics Account revenue derived from General Aviation to funding for General Aviation Airports.? (The Firewall Bill)

3. Strengthen compatible land use statutes by requiring that proposals for privately funded and charter schools be subject to oversight by the appropriate Airport Land Use Commission.? (Land Use Bill) (As public schools already are.)

On January 10, the Governor announced the proposed FY 05/06 budget, which included cuts in transportation funding for the next two years and a constitutional amendment to protect transportation funds after that time.

The team met with a wide variety of legislators and staff including:

  • Wes Lujan, Legislative Advocate, Advocation, Inc.
  • Chuck Cole, President, Advocation, Inc.
  • Austin Wiswell, Chief, California Division of Aeronautics
  • DeAnn Baker, Legislative Representative, California State Association of Counties
  • Amy O?Gorman, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities
  • Senator Maldonado and Staff
  • Senator Simitian and Staff
  • Senator Torlakson and Staff
  • Staff to Senator Ashburn
  • Staff to Senator Chesbro
  • Staff to Senator Poochigian
  • Staff to Senator Runner
  • Assemblyman Maze and Staff
  • Assemblywoman Runner and Staff
  • Assemblyman Ruskin and Staff
  • Staff to Assemblyman Keene
  • Staff to Assemblyman Mullin

Note: ?Staff? generally indicates the office Chief of Staff and/or Legislative Analyst.

Particularly noteworthy for our area were the meetings with Senator Joe Simitian, Assemblyman Gene Mullin, and Assemblyman Ira Ruskin. Senator Simitian suggested we talk to as many legislators as possible, that way our message spreads. Assemblyman Mullin offered to carry the Firewall Bill for us. Since this Bill is a constitutional amendment it does not have the same time deadline to be entered into this session as the other two bills do. Assemblymen Mullin, Maldonado, and Senator Maze are all still interested in this amendment. Assemblyman Maze offered to carry the Land Use Bill in conjunction with Assemblyman Mullin. Assemblyman Mullin, on an extended deadline day of February 22, entered Assembly Bill (AB) 1358 the Land Use Bill concerning charter schools.

Senator Maldonado offered to carry the Funding Bill, which he entered in the Senate as Senate Bill (SB) 335 on February 16.

The participants deemed to the trip a success. Given the nature of legislation, the job is not yet done. We will keep up the effort to protect and defend aviation in the State of California. We will also let you know when members of California Pilots Association help is needed to contact their legislators and encourage passage of these bills.

Picture of Carol FordSubmitted by Carol Ford
Director at Large in Region 2 for California Pilots Association.

Carol is also President of Ford Aviation Consulting. She can be reached at 650-591-8308.

Note: Updated information in italics.

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