Several Aviation and Aerospace Bills Signed into Oklahoma Law
OKLAHOMA CITY – With the conclusion of the Regular Session of the 2022 Legislative Session, the Aeronautics Commission and the aviation and aerospace industry are celebrating several critical pieces of legislation being signed into law.
Senate Bill 1040, the vehicle for the FY23 general appropriations bill, included an appropriation for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission to invest in airport infrastructure. FY22 marked the first appropriation the agency had received since the 1990s. With this additional round of funding, the agency plans to propose the continuation of its current flight path of investing in vertical infrastructure within the Oklahoma Airport System (OAS). This effort will involve collaborating with airport sponsors interested in participating in the hangar program for the next fiscal year.
The industry and the important role it affords to the state’s economy is starting to become mainstream as several key measures that will embolden the mission of Oklahoma Aeronautics to foster and encourage aviation and aerospace throughout the state became law including establishing the Oklahoma Air Service Development Program that will grow commercial air service across the State.
Throughout the course of the legislative session, and even the precursors leading up to it, the amount of interest and excitement the aviation and aerospace industry received was notable.
Much of this general awareness and success of the agency’s efforts is due to the limitless need for skilled workforce in the aviation, aerospace and defense sectors not only in Oklahoma but across the Nation.
State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies said “There are several agencies working statewide on addressing the specific education requirements needed to fill those high-paying jobs, and Oklahoma Aeronautics has a unique approach to leading that charge through their high school aviation curriculum programs that will be in over 50 schools this fall. The legislature passing Senate Bill 1147 directing the State Department of Education to ensure Aero Education counts as core credit is going to bring the much-needed lift to the number of students taking the courses.”
Other Aviation and Aerospace measures signed into law were the following:
- SB 258 eliminates the revenue cap on aircraft excise tax collections, allowing all money generated by aviation to remain with aviation. This money is desperately needed at the State's 108 public-use airports for improvements that will support continued aviation growth. The bill was signed into law on May 2.
- SB 1461 establishes the Oklahoma Air Service Development Program that will be administered by the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission with support from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to grow commercial air service across the State. Our commercial airports are competing against airports across the country for direct flights. Many states are now providing similar programs resulting in the successful recruitment of new service that fosters additional connectivity and expanded business efficiencies. This program would put Oklahoma airports on a level playing field with other successful state programs like those offered by Ohio, Wyoming, Indiana, and Tennessee.
- SB 1781 requires aircraft dealers to include in their reports to the Tax Commission about the transfer of ownership of an aircraft whether the aircraft is exempt from aircraft excise tax.
- SB 1147 would allow the AOPA "You Can Fly" program curriculum to count as core credit for high school students versus elective credits. This action would open the door for students to pursue aviation-related career paths while in high school, giving them a solid foundation to pursue flight training post-graduation, A&P licensing through the State's Tech education resources, or aeronautical engineering on a college track. This bill directly supports our State's aviation and aerospace industry by providing workforce pipeline pathways for students throughout the state in both rural and urban districts.