News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Iowa
by Yasmina Platt
Manager, AOPA Central Southwest Region
The 2014 legislative sessions in what we call the “Central Region” (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa) are alive and well. All four of the states are in session. I will mention some of the bills we are working on here to ensure the protection and promotion of general aviation, and that our members’ interests are represented.
Kansas’ House Bill (HB) 2542, if passed, would add “amateur-built aircraft” to the existing property or ad valorem tax exemption where antique aircraft are already exempt. These aircraft broaden our understanding of flight, encourage innovation and creativity, and advance the science of aviation. Kansas HB 2573 would create the Airport Development Revolving Fund and KDOT-Aviation would receive a one-time $15M installment from the general fund to help with the planning, construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of public-use general aviation airports. However, Kansas HB 2652 would modify the existing Airport Zoning Act and limit airports’ ability to protect their airspace from surrounding incompatible land uses.
Missouri’s HB 1743 would amend the existing Missouri Recreational Use Statute (RUS) to include aviation activities, and Senate Bill (SB) 777 would extend the sales tax exemption on aircraft parts (scheduled to end on January 1, 2015) and create a “fly away” exemption (as with SB 958, out-of-state residents would not pay the state’s sales tax when purchasing an aircraft in Missouri as long as the aircraft is based in another state within 10 business days). Eliminating the sunset on the sales tax exemption of aircraft parts allows Missouri to retain and expand long-term benefits and jobs to the people of Missouri while continuing to spur economic development. The exemption increases aviation activity, generates jobs, and raises revenue for businesses. Missouri also held its annual “State Aviation Day At The Capitol” in Jefferson City on April 8th. I was there!
In Nebraska, Legislative Bill (LB) 845 would mark meteorological evaluation towers (MET) in the state as recommended by the FAA and NTSB. MET towers, usually between 50 and 199 feet high, are temporary structures used to measure wind speed and direction to identify locations for future wind turbines.
On January 29, I represented AOPA at Iowa’s “Transportation Day At The Capitol,” where a group of us promoted general aviation among state legislators and their staffs. Some of the discussions included ensuring that money raised by aviation is reinvested back into aviation via the state’s aviation trust fund, ensuring that Iowa’s aircraft maintenance industry is competitive, increasing recreational aviation, and ensuring that airports are funded at appropriate levels.
The first AOPA “Regional Fly-in” is coming up on April 26th in San Marcos, Texas. If I do not see you there (although I really hope you can participate), look for me at other events in your area, like the 2014 Nebraska State Fly-in in York on June 7th, the Fly Iowa 2014 event in Iowa City scheduled for June 28-29, or the Kansas Aviation Expo in Wichita towards the end of September.
As always, you can stay tuned with local, state, and regional issues and initiatives via Twitter: @AOPACentralSW.