By Yasmina Platt,
AOPA’s Central Southwest Regional Manager
We had a very busy, but productive, legislative session in Texas in 2015 and AOPA members, pilots and aircraft owners among others will reap the benefits.
New Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a number of general aviation friendly bills into law after the 84th Texas Legislature adjourned June 1st. In addition to working with state legislators, we met and talked with staff in Abbott’s offices in both Austin and Washington D.C. to ensure GA pilots’ voices were heard.
Thanks to advocacy efforts from AOPA and other aviation stakeholders who tracked 54 bills throughout session, pilots can enjoy many of the benefits being afforded to GA. The bills that Abbott signed into law provide:
- $84 million (state, federal and local dollars) to support and promote GA services and airports for each of the fiscal years ending Aug. 31, 2016 and 2017;
- Free Texas Department of Transportation Airport Directories (the directory previously cost $6);
- A requirement to mark and register meteorological evaluation towers (better known as MET towers) to mitigate safety-of-flight hazards for pilots;
- Clarification of how GA aircraft leasing and business practices operate so that sales and use tax changes don’t affect the industry’s positive contribution to the state’s economy.
- The ability for repossession agents to file a petition in a justice court for a writ of assistance to receive help from law enforcement officials when repossessing an aircraft.
Yasmina Platt said leadership and support from Reps. Paul Workman (47th District), Armando Martinez (39th District), Chris Paddie (9th District), Rick Miller (26th District), and John Otto (18th District), and Sens. Charles Perry (28th District), Van Taylor (8th District), Royce West (23rd District), and Jane Nelson (12th District) helped push the positive legislation through session.
You can get more information about these and other developments in our region, and specifically in Texas, by visiting http://www.aopa.org/Advocacy/Airports-and-State-Advocacy.aspx or following me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AOPACentralSW or @AOPACentralSW).