On Wednesday, the New York Assembly approved a measure, A.B.11863, requiring criminal history records checks for individuals seeking to learn to fly or obtain flight training for an advanced rating or certificate [see AOPA's pilot action alert]. The measure now goes to the Senate Committee on Rules as early as Tuesday. AOPA has raised its objections to the legislation in a letter to the committee. New York is the seventh state where this type of legislation is being considered. Only Michigan has enacted such a requirement. AOPA argues that states should not be in the role of regulating a federally controlled activity like flight training.
Another important concern for AOPA members is the experiences coming from Michigan where flight students have been humiliated and forced to stand in line with convicted felons to get fingerprinted by local police. Pilots have also been faced with law enforcement offices only open on certain days for limited times, typically during the workday, for processing fingerprints. "This is not the way to encourage a new student pilot enthusiastic about learning to fly," commented Andy Cebula, AOPA's senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "Likewise, an existing pilot wanting an advanced rating is now faced with the same humiliation."
AOPA members in New York need to contact their state senators to object to Assembly Bill 11863 in order to avoid the same problems being experienced in Michigan.