As the Aug. 1 implementation deadline for California’s Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 looms, AOPA has been working with state legislators to delay the effective date and revise the law. The law was originally meant to protect students at postsecondary schools and provide more business accountability for those schools, but it has unnecessarily created confusion and difficulties for those engaged in providing flight training, including apparent requirements for flight schools to pay multiple new administrative fees and open their books to regulators.
The association has been reviewing the current law and seeking clarification on who is actually affected by the new requirements.
"Based on our review of the regulation and conversations with various government entities, AOPA believes that this regulation is not intended for or applicable to independent flight instructors," said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro. AOPA does not believe independent flight instructors need to file for an exemption. Flight instructors who have already filed for an exemption could later have their request and associated fee returned if a legislative fixed is passed.
Meanwhile, AOPA suggests flight schools apply for a Verification of Exempt Status form with the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education before Aug. 1. The form can be downloaded online, and schools should fill out sections one through four and six through nine before submitting it. On section three of the form, schools should select "An institution offering continuing education or license examination preparation, if the institution or the program is approved, certified or sponsored by any of the following... ."
AOPA is actively working with several key members of the California legislature, which will return to session Aug. 2, on a measure to delay implementation of the act, and ultimately revisions that would specifically and more appropriately address any applicability of the law to flight training.
Republican lawmakers sent a letter June 29 to the State and Consumer Services Agency supporting Assembly Bill 1140 that includes a provision to delay implementation of the act until Dec. 31, 2011. It also mandates an informational hearing to discuss the act’s applicability to the flight training industry. Another bill (AB 1889), which also calls for a delay in implementation, will be up for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee Aug. 2.
AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer met with legislative staff July 28 to discuss the status of the bills.