Michigan lawmakers voted unanimously in support of an AOPA-backed bill to repeal that state's criminal background check requirement or anyone seeking flight instruction. Tuesday afternoon's vote was 106-0.
"AOPA is delighted on behalf of Michigan pilots and flight school students that the Michigan House took this important step," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula. "The flight school security program contained in the bill is more appropriate and is a better complement to federal aviation security efforts than the current unconstitutional law."
House Bill 4704, sponsored by Rep. Steven Ehardt (R-Dist. 83) would repeal the background check requirement and substitute a number of common-sense security requirements for flight schools. AOPA worked closely with lawmakers to ensure that a requirement in the bill that a student pilot carry a valid medical and student pilot certificate when operating in solo flight mirrored federal regulations.
"AOPA still does not believe states should be enacting laws on pilot certification," said Cebula. "But as a practical matter, AOPA has made sure the language will not adversely affect pilots or student pilots and is consistent with industry practices."
H.B.4704 must first pass the Senate before going on to the governor for signature. Senate action is expected sometime this summer. In the meantime, AOPA is pressing ahead with its effort in federal court to have the current Michigan law declared unconstitutional.
Said Cebula, "Whether through the courts or through the legislature, AOPA wants the criminal background check requirement removed."