AOPA is opposing a bill introduced in the New York State Assembly that could have a negative effect on flight schools and prospective student pilots if it is passed. New York State Assembly Bill 3512 would require prospective student pilots to undergo criminal background checks before receiving flight instruction. AOPA Regional Representative Craig Dotlo recently met with a number of New York state assemblymen and senators to advise the bill is inconsistent with the best interests of the state of New York and general aviation.
During meetings in Albany, Dotlo worked to persuade lawmakers the intent of the pending legislation has already been addressed by several FAA regulations and Transportation Security Administration rules. Dotlo also stressed the state law might be inconsistent with FAA regulations and conflict with the federal government maintaining a single uniform system of regulations, which is essential to aviation safety.
So far, support for New York Assembly Bill 3512 is light. Some members of the legislature are concerned about the preemption issue, while other members believe the measures proposed in the bill would duplicate efforts already implemented by TSA.
A bill similar to Assembly Bill 3512 was introduced in 2002, but the bill failed to gain momentum due to the lack of companion legislation in the New York Senate.