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May 6, 2014
WA, CO Pass MET Tower Marking Bills; OK Bill Vetoed

As reported on March 20, several states have made significant strides in establishing visibility requirements for low-level towers, with Washington and Colorado completing their efforts. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, vetoed the state’s bill that passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the Oklahoma legislature.

 


 Gov. Jay Inslee signs SB-6054, Washington State’s tower marking legislation. Surrounding Gov. Inslee from left to right are Rep. Brian Blake, Chair of the House Ag Committee; Mark Doumit, Executive Director of Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA); Rep. Ed Orcutt of the House Transportation Committee (Ranking Minority Member); AWAA Executive Secretary Erin Morse with Magdalene Morse; AWAA President Gavin Morse; and John Erenrich, WFPA

The Aeronautic Safety Bill, SB-6054, was signed into law by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on March 28. The measure was backed by the Association of Washington Aerial Applicators (AWAA) and shepherded through the legislature by the bill sponsor, Sen. Jim Honeyford with the help of AWAA President Gavin Morse, and AWAA lobbyist Heather Hansen.

 

The law is one of the strictest in the nation, requiring most guy-wired towers over 25 feet to be marked and lighted. The penalty for noncompliance with the new law is a misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum 24-hour jail sentence and $250 fine on the first offense. Other organizations supporting the bill included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Washington Pilots Association (WPA). Additional details can be found in AWAA’s press release here.

 

In an effort spearheaded by the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association (CoAAA), and with help from the National Transportation Safety Board, both houses cleared Colorado’s tower marking bill last week. The bill is now slated to be signed next Saturday, May 17, in a signing ceremony by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The measure requires all towers between 50 and 100 feet to be marked with aviation orange and white, balls, and cable sleeves, and violators would be guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor, with a penalty of 3-12 months in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000. NAAA congratulates CoAAA Executive Director Jessica Freeman and the Colorado association for their hard fought victory in enacting this legislation.

 

In Oklahoma, however, the outcome of tower marking legislation was disheartening as Gov. Mary Fallin chose to veto such a bill passed by the state legislature. The bill was authored by Sen. Charles Wyrick (D-Fairland), whose son is an aerial applicator and who authored the bill following the tragic accident in Oklahoma last season that resulted in an ag aviator’s death. The bill would have required the marking of MET towers over 50 feet effective Nov.1, punishable by a $100-per-day fine until the owner of the tower complied with the bill’s requirements.

 

Fallin said in her veto message in regards to Senate Bill 1195 that the marking process could better be handled through “administrative rule making and civil remedies, rather than through criminal penalties… Anemometer towers are appropriately regulated through Airport Zoning Act and the Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act.” However, the explanatory statement accompanying the bill stated clearly that these two acts could not be used because they explicitly pertain to airports and not all lands.

 

Some in the state legislature believe it may be possible to override the veto, as the bill passed with an overwhelming majority, however it’s currently unclear which course of action the bill’s sponsors plan to take. NAAA will continue to follow this issue.

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This newsletter is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this newsletter that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied.
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Despite Calls for a Stiff Sentence, Idaho Crop Duster Shooter Gets Slap on Wrist
WA, CO Pass MET Tower Marking Bills; OK Bill Vetoed
AIG Now Underwriting UAVs
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
May 19 2014  
Wisconsin AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In
Baraboo, WI
Fly-In will take place the week of May 19. Weather dependent. 
Damon Reabe (920) 324-3519
Jim Perrin (715) 335-4470

May 20-22 2014  
Downstown Aero Fly-In: Wet and Dry Calibration Fly-In
Vineland-Downstown Airport (28N)
Vineland, NJ
Curt Nixholm
(856) 697-3300
 
Jun 3 2014 - Jun 4 2014  
Iowa AAA Operation S.A.F.E. Fly-In
Grinnell Municipal Airport
Grinnell, IA
Analyst: Dennis Gardisser (501) 676-1762
Local Contact: Quentin Childs (515) 967-3761
 
 


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