An AOPA-backed bill to eliminate Michigan's pilot background check law has cleared the next-to-last hurdle before it can be sent to the governor. The Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved and sent to the full Michigan Senate House Bill 4704. It replaces the unconstitutional criminal background checks on anyone seeking flight training with a common-sense regulation requiring flight schools to implement a security program.
"In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the reaction of Michigan's non-flying representatives was perhaps understandable but certainly misguided," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But now, nearly two years later, and with major federal advances in aviation security, the lawmakers are poised to correct their mistake."
The full state senate still needs to debate and vote on the bill before it can be sent to the governor for signature. AOPA Regional Representative Bill Blake has been in Lansing, buttonholing senators to argue in favor of the repeal.
Meanwhile, AOPA is still pursuing its federal lawsuit to have the current background check law declared unconstitutional. A hearing is scheduled for July 24, 2003, on AOPA's request for summary judgment. If the judge rules in AOPA's favor, the law would be declared unconstitutional, and there would be no need for a trial.