News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota
by Bryan Budds
Manager, AOPA Great Lakes Region
The past few months have been quite busy for AOPA’s State Advocacy Team as each state legislature in the region, with the exception of North Dakota, has been in session and debating several issues very important to general aviation pilots. While we are active in all state legislatures, I wanted to bring Wisconsin-area pilots up-to-date on several important happenings in Madison.
During the month of February, two very important aviation bills were acted upon in Madison, Wisconsin. First, Senate Bill 321 was introduced, which provides liability protection for the owners of private airfields when they are used for noncommercial aviation activity. AOPA, along with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, and many concerned local pilots (in this case, longtime pilot and Wisconsin airfield owner, Don Kiel of Whitelaw, Wis.) have worked together in more than 20 states to strengthen recreational activity at private airfields by limiting the airfield owner’s liability should an incident occur. With these protections in place, we hope to see additional aviation activity at Wisconsin’s private airfields.
Similarly, Wisconsin Senate Bill 348 cleared several additional hurdles on its way to becoming law. The bill would exempt all aircraft maintenance from Wisconsin’s sales tax, just as Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio have done in recent years. In each of these cases and in Wisconsin, AOPA actively supports this type of legislation not only to help reign in maintenance costs for general aviation aircraft, but also to help bolster the economic competitiveness of Wisconsin’s aviation businesses. Since Senate Bill 348 contains a tax exemption, the bill has to go through an even more arduous legislative process to become law. At the time of this article’s drafting, Senate Bill 348 has only one more step to overcome and AOPA is optimistic it will become law very shortly.
Also, as we gear up for the summer flying season, I wanted to remind you that AOPA’s regional fly-in this year will be held on May 31st at Indianapolis Regional Airport (MQJ) in Indianapolis, Indiana! AOPA is always looking for volunteers for these great events. Please visit www.aopa.org/fly-ins for more information!
To see all the activity AOPA is working on in the Great Lakes, please visit twitter.com/aopagreatlakes for up-to-the-minute news and information!