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AOPA objects to South Dakota's plan for pilot photo identificationAOPA objects to South Dakota's plan for pilot photo identification

Via Facsimile: 605/773-4711

Governor William Janklow
The State of South Dakota
State Capitol
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Dear Governor Janklow:

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a membership association of over 380,000 pilots and aircraft owners nationwide, 1,200 of who reside in the state of South Dakota. Senate Bill 32 is before you for consideration. AOPA has previously opposed and remains opposed to Senate Bill 32. If you chose to sign this bill, specific guidance should be provided to the Aeronautics Commission preventing the implementation of unnecessary photo pilot security cards.

Senate Bill 32 increases the airman registration charge and allows the Aeronautics Commission to issue a pilot registration certificate and to prescribe requirements for the possession and exhibition of the certificate. While appearing to be a simple increase in pilot registration fees, based on discussion with the South Dakota Department of Transportation Office of Aviation, it is our understanding that the intent of the Aeronautics Commission is to issue state pilot photo registration cards leading to unreasonable security restrictions on airman in the state.

AOPA is disappointed a bill granting vast authority to the Aeronautics Commission addressing the complex concern of aviation security would be passed with little guiding direction by state leaders for its implementation.

Individual state initiatives unnecessarily create a burden to a fast-paced aviation industry and add confusion from state to state. A more uniform approach to address airman requirements and airport security should be left to the federal government to implement on a national level, something that is occurring now.

AOPA and several other general aviation organizations advanced a series of recommendations on general aviation security to federal officials following consultation and evaluation of general aviation security with former Assistant Administrator for Civil Aviation Security Cathal Flynn. In addition, the association has been involved in ongoing discussion with the FAA on the implementation of a federal photo license for pilots.

With more than 625,500 active certificated pilots, proper planning is essential to assure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a smooth transition to new certificates. We believe a measure combining already issued driver's licenses/photo identification cards with already existing requirements for pilots to carry medical certificates and pilot certificates can be instituted temporarily until the federal process can be fully implemented. However, it should be stressed that this is just one idea that is currently being discussed, and the ultimate decision will be that of the FAA's.

As written, the passage of this bill would facilitate the Aeronautics Commission to issue state pilot photo registration cards and implement airport security restrictions on airman in the state, without specifically granting that authority. We believe legislation should clearly promote the state's authority and intentions and be inline with federal efforts. Senate Bill 32 fails to do that.

As governor, you should promote the passage of well-written and clearly stated laws. As such, we believe you should veto Senate Bill 32. If you chose to sign this bill, specific guidance should be provided to the Aeronautics Commission preventing the implementation of unnecessary photo pilot security cards. If you wish to discuss this issue further, or to discuss a related issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Andrew V. Cebula
Senior Vice President
Government and Technical Affairs

Cc: Bill Hamilton, AOPA Central Regional Representative

February 15, 2002

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