February 25, 2011
By Ian J. Twombly
California Senate Bill 619, aimed at alleviating the requirements for flight schools under the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, was introduced Feb. 18. Under the current terms of the bill, all individual flight instructors and flight schools that don’t collect money up front for flight training would be exempt from the provisions of the postsecondary act.
But according to representatives from AOPA, language in S.B. 619 is expected to change as it goes through the legislative process.
“This is a good starting point,” said AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer. “It’s almost a certainty that when the final bill passes later this year, the provisions will be different. One area where we’re looking for some relief is on the issue of block time, or students getting a small discount for paying a modest amount up front for training.”
S.B. 619 must pass if flight schools are to be exempted from the provisions of the postsecondary act. Currently schools are operating under a temporary exemption that was passed last year. If nothing is passed, the provisions of the postsecondary act will go into effect July 1 of this year.
“Although there is work to be done in navigating the legislative process, I'm confident that we will be able to enact a viable long-term solution by July 1,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs. “We have excellent support and visibility for the bill in California, thanks in large part to John’s work and that of NATA—and, of course, our members in the state."
The next step for the bill is the committee process, which should begin shortly.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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