The South Dakota Aeronautics Commission has rejected AOPA's alternative to the state's plan to issue pilot photo identification. During a commission meeting last week in Brandon, South Dakota, AOPA Regional Representative Bill Hamilton questioned the state's authority to issue the ID cards because it closely resembles the state licensing of pilots. Pilot licensing is a federal, not state, responsibility.
A state law passed this year directs the aeronautics commission to develop means of providing a pilot photo ID. Hamilton told the commission that AOPA's pending petition with the FAA that would require pilots to carry photo identification would be less burdensome and a more economical way for the state to implement the law. But an aide to the governor attending the meeting suggested that if the commission followed that idea, "Governor Janklow would be very upset."
While the AOPA alternative was not adopted, the association was able to get the commissioners to remove a requirement that would have allowed the state to close an airport that was found in noncompliance with the pilot ID law. In addition, AOPA was able to get last-minute clarification that pilots would not be required to display the photo ID on the outside of their clothing and that this law would not apply to visiting out-of-state pilots.