MPA LEGISLATION REPORT
March 2007

GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D.C. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) releases FY07 homeland Security Grant Program guidance and application kits for five grant programs that will total roughly $1.7 billion in funding for state and local counter-terrorism efforts. Application period is open until April 5, 2007.

Secondly, In early February, the Bush Administration released its preliminary FY2008 budget, which goes into effect October 1st of this year. In the budget was an Administration proposal to restructure how the aviation trust fund is funded. While at the writing of this article the DOT and FAA had not clearly delineated exact details of the proposal, it's expected to reflect much of what the airlines and the Air Transport Association (ATA) have been proposing-primarily, new user fees for business aviation.

Thirdly, Central to the debate is FAA's assertion that the current funding mechanisms are inadequate for meeting the needs of the system long term. However, former Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General Ken Mead, who earned a reputation for candor in his studies of DOT/FAA activities, also came out with a report in which he maintains the current system is adequate. Comments Coyne, "I don't think there's any doubt about it." Coyne says that FAA is under pressure from the Administration to get a handle on operational costs.

Fourthly, One obstacle here, he says, is air traffic controller salaries. "I can see the White House's argument that the operation budget at FAA is out of control," he says. "FAA is trying to deal with it but they're not dealing with it head on. They're coming at it obliquely, because they know that if they confront the controllers head on with these issues of productivity and salaries, especially after the brutal renegotiation of the last year, and now with the Democrats in control of both the House and the Senate, they can't win the argument."

Fifthly, The one issue that has National Air Transportation Association (NATA) James Coyne President and others particularly concerned is general aviation security. They fear that Congress is going to direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to bring down more stringent guide-lines if for no other reason than Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) wants them. Following a recent lunch with the Senator, Coyne came away alarmed. Coyne relates, "He talks at great lengths of how he feels that a private airplane is going to be used to carry some WMD. I think the Intel community has created this bogeyman. He flat out said, "We are going to come up with new security regulations that will affect general aviation." Notice it's the first time, the chair of the Intelligence Committee is chair of the aviation subcommittee."

Here's an update concerning Missouri Aviation. The only Airports and Aviation Bills are as follows:

94th General Assembly, 1st Regular Session (2007)
Bills Indexed by Subject
AIRCRAFT AND AIRPORTS

HB 118 --- Sponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Specifies the situations in which the Civil Air Patrol may be activated, which missions are federal or state, and who pays for the missions

HB 302 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J. --- CoSponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Relating to State Aviation Trust Funds and air traffic control towers partially funded by the federal government under a cost-sharing program

HB 305 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J. --- CoSponsor: Page, Sam
Increases the limit on the amount deposited to the aviation trust fund to eight million five hundred thousand dollars

HB 529 --- Sponsor: Bruns, Mark J.
Changes the laws regarding the Aviation Trust Fund and air traffic control towers

HB 571 --- Sponsor: St. Onge, Neal C. --- CoSponsor: Schneider, Vicki
Changes the definition of "commercial aircraft" by lowering the maximum certified gross take-off weight from 7,000 to 1,000 pounds

HB 619 --- Sponsor: Aull, Joe --- CoSponsor: Schaaf, Robert
Specifies the situations in which the Civil Air Patrol may be activated, which missions are federal or state, and who pays for the missions

HB 624 --- Sponsor: Wilson, Larry --- CoSponsor: Quinn, Paul
Requires operators of storage facilities to provide documentation for property tax purposes

SB 120 --- Sponsor: Nodler, Gary
Increases the cap on the Aviation Trust Fund and allows the Aviation Trust Fund to be used for certain federal air traffic control cost-sharing programs

SB 602 --- Sponsor: Kennedy, Harry
Creates a sales and use tax exemption for purchases of aviation fuel for transoceanic flights


Note: Here's your web site address for Texas Legislation:
www.texas.gov.
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Note: Here's your web site address for Illinois Legislation:
www.illinois.gov.
Look for Transportation-Aviation, to search all Aviation Bills.

Now, In Conclusion, Remember, we as USPA, MPA, EAA, AOPA, or any other State Pilot Associations of which you may be a member, all have a powerful voice, be it here in Missouri, Indiana, Texas, or whatever state you may represent. Every group of pilots and taxpayers carries a strong voice to Washington, D.C., and on the State and Local Level.

So Let's not forget to exercise our privileges, and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."

SAFE FLYING!

Larry G. Harmon
Legislation Chairman
E-mail address: MPALHARMON228@aol.com


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