AOPA Sues N.Y. Over Background Check Law

 - December 15, 2006, 5:59 AM

AOPA and seven New York flight schools filed a lawsuit in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the state law requiring criminal background checks for all flight school students. “This law is unnecessary, discriminatory, anti-business and ineffective,” said AOPA president Phil Boyer, “and it violates the U.S. Constitution.” Beyond the constitutional issues, the New York law stands to “hurt many small businesses in the state,” said Boyer. In addition, the New York law can’t achieve its stated purpose, AOPA alleged, because the state is able to examine criminal histories contained only within its own records, not the FBI’s. “Any criminal history in another state wouldn’t be revealed by the New York check.” According to the lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs, East Hill Flying Club, has been unable to sign up any new students since the law went into effect last January 1. Another plaintiff, American Flyers, said in the lawsuit it is not accepting any new students at its Westchester County Airport facility and will close that flight school as soon as its current students complete training, in part due to the requirements of the New York law.