News & Information You’ll Want To Know In Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Iowa
by Yasmina Platt
Manager, AOPA Central Southwest Region
Addressing the big issues that will affect the way we fly for decades to come requires a big commitment, and 2015 has been a year marked by steady progress on some of the biggest issues of all.
Some of the nationwide/federal issues AOPA worked on in 2015 include addressing barriers to Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipage; introducing the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 to include third class medical reform, as well as protections for pilots facing enforcement actions; integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones” into the National Airspace System (NAS); and identifying a replacement for unleaded avgas (100LL). AOPA was also a key player in growing the General Aviation Caucuses in both houses, with the House reaching an all-time membership record of 274 representatives. However, when it comes to making an impact on the way we fly, it’s not just national issues that make a difference… AOPA is equally hard at work on the state level and at local airports to keep GA flying.
In 2015, we monitored over 750 bills across the regions, taking an active advocacy role on many of them. Among the state legislative victories racked up in the Central Region (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Iowa) were:
• Airport improvement funding/appropriations in all four states.
• Several pieces of legislation to protect GA education and flight instruction providers, to promote good land-use and protect navigable airspace in the form of the Airport Zoning Act, and to preserve the process for closing airports and repaying open state grants in Iowa.
• A fly-away sales tax exemption on aircraft in Missouri.
• Property tax cuts on business aircraft and an improved law regarding the marking and registration of Meteorological Evaluation Towers (MET), as well as an enforcement provision of those two requirements in Nebraska.
And, sometimes in politics, the good news is that bad news won’t happen. This year, we had to fight the reversion, diversion, and/or elimination of aviation-generated funds from state aviation funds in several states. In addition, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa all had Aviation/Transportation Days at their respective state capitols, providing a great opportunity for pilots, aviation organizations (like AOPA), and legislators to meet and chat about our agenda and the importance and benefit of general aviation to each respective state.
I am looking forward to another productive year in 2016!
Stay tuned for ways you can contribute.