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New Jersey pilot background check bill set asideNew Jersey pilot background check bill set aside

A New Jersey bill that would require a criminal background check and a photo ID for student and renter pilots in the state has been sidetracked. The bill's sponsor agreed to withhold the legislation from consideration after meeting with AOPA.

Monday, AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula met with state Senator Peter A. Inverso to explain why the legislation was unneeded.

"We talked at length about the measures the federal government and the aviation industry have taken since 9/11 to address aviation security nationwide," said Cebula. "That includes the new regulation adopted by the FAA following AOPA's petition that requires a pilot in command to carry a government-issued photo identification along with their pilot and medical certificates."

Other federal measures include restrictions on flight training of foreign nationals in large aircraft, background checks of foreign individuals seeking to receive a U.S. pilot certificate on the basis of a foreign pilot certificate, and tremendous scrutiny of the FAA's pilot database by security officials.

Cebula also outlined proactive steps many flight schools were already taking in the wake of 9/11 and briefed the senator on AOPA's Airport Watch Program that is being developed in coordination with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The senator was enthusiastic about supporting the Airport Watch effort.

After the discussion with AOPA, Sen. Inverso removed his bill from the Transportation Committee agenda, effectively killing the legislation for the moment. Sen. Inverso said he would continue to monitor the efforts of the federal government and the aviation industry to assure that the safety and security of New Jersey citizens are being adequately addressed.

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