New York pilots are turning out in full force to tell Gov. George Pataki to veto a bill that would require prospective pilots to get a background check, get fingerprinted, and be approved for flight training - before taking a single lesson.
Members are organizing interviews with the media, developing press kits, and gathering signatures on letters to the governor.
"It will be hard to convince your friends and neighbors to finally take that first lesson when they learn that they have to be fingerprinted, like a common criminal, in the next step toward [earning] their license," one member wrote to fellow New York pilots, encouraging them to contact Gov. Pataki's office.
The Airport Support Network volunteer for Potsdam Municipal/Damon Field, Jim Kane, and fellow pilots have launched an effort to collect signatures and inform the media of the negative impact this bill would have on GA. The issue already has received front-page coverage in that area.
Kane also reports that a volunteer lobbyist is contacting senators and representatives to urge them to change their mind and ask the governor to veto the bill.
AOPA has sent numerous packets of factual information to the governor's office, showing him that this bill is redundant, unnecessary, and burdensome. It could significantly hamper flight school businesses.
"New York already carries the dubious distinction of being one of the most difficult states in which to do business," another member wrote to Pataki. "We should be doing more, not less, to encourage business. Please show your true leadership ability and veto A2122."
The association also warned the governor that AOPA had filed a federal suit against a similar law in Michigan, and the state repealed it.
If you haven't contacted Gov. Pataki's office yet, please call 518/474-8390.
"We still need AOPA members to voice their opposition to this bill," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Greg Pecoraro. "There is strength in numbers, and the governor can't ignore New York's more than 14,000 AOPA members."
July 13, 2006