A bill that would have jeopardized Tennessee airports by providing for their summary closure was put to bed this week when the state legislature reached a final agreement on a transformed bill.
In order to deal with an issue regarding the Sumner County Airport Authority, lawmakers from the county initially introduced a bill in the Tennessee state legislature to allow municipalities and counties in the state to dissolve their airport authorities—without a single hearing or any public process. The bill contained language that also would have allowed governing bodies to close airports with a two-thirds vote.
AOPA Southeast Regional Representative Bob Minter said the legislation would have facilitated the dissolution of an airport authority and the possible closure of an airport “without sufficient process or accountability, nor proper consideration of the complexities or the ultimate consequences of such an action.”
AOPA worked with aviation groups, the bill sponsors, and officials around the state to alert lawmakers of the bill’s potential consequences. As a result, the legislation has since been amended to eliminate the damaging airport closure language and to establish a more sound and deliberative process for the dissolution of an airport authority.
A vote on the bill was delayed multiple times as legislators considered multiple amendments before the final version was agreed upon by both chambers of the legislature on June 9. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.