The Ohio Senate has passed a homeland security bill that is much friendlier to general aviation than it had first appeared.
AOPA's state legislative experts previously met with officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation and representatives from Gov. Bob Taft's office to stress the uniqueness of GA airports and to make sure any security initiatives are consistent with industry standards.
As it was introduced, Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Senate President Jeff Jacobson, would have required airports to screen all GA passengers, maintain five-year logs of all transient aircraft, and require double locks on all aircraft. As unanimously passed by the Senate on Tuesday, the bill no longer includes these provisions and now simply requires pilots to "secure their aircraft." The bill also requires airports to adopt a security plan consistent with security guidelines published by the Transportation Security Administration, which prominently features AOPA's Airport Watch Program.
Other provisions require aircraft renters to present government-issued identification and their pilot certificates to the FBO or flight school. It also requires airports to develop a written list of emergency contacts and telephone numbers, restrict access to aircraft keys by unlicensed persons, create an emergency locater map that details the airport layout and infrastructure (to be protected from mandatory public disclosure), and familiarize local law enforcement agencies with the airport and consult with them in the airport's development of security procedures.
While AOPA is not formally supporting the bill, AOPA's state legislative experts are pleased that the bill is now consistent with best industry practices and with federal law.
March 11, 2005