Florida HB 755 – Dangerous to Passengers

Late May, 1999, Boeing lobbyist Guy Spearman went to the Capitol in Tallahassee and in the final hours of the legislative session, added a major provision to House Bill 775 — a 50-page bill taking rights away from the people. There was no public hearing and they totally by-passed the legislative committee process. The Florida legislature passed HB 775, which states that if a plane crashes in Florida and if the plane is over 20 years old, there can be no lawsuits against the manufacturer. It also appears that if a Florida resident is in a plane crash anywhere, and the plane is over 20 years old, the manufacturers have no product liability. This Boeing corporate welfare amendment will promote dangerous aging aircraft, and not promote safety!

NADA learned about the midnight madness late May, shortly after the legislature signed the bill. Within 36 hours, working with other consumer action groups, NADA participated in a press conference and publicly asked Gov. Jeb Bush not to sign the bill. After the May 26th press conference, NADA family members went to Gov. Bush’s office, and while the TV cameras were rolling Bush refused to meet with our family members whose loved ones had been killed in air crashes, and signed the bill that day.

The following comments are from the press conference on May 26, 1999, plus an Editorial Opinion from Tom O’Mara written after we learned that Bush had signed the bill.
The answer to aging aircraft is to ensure that we have the safest planes possible, and retire them! Even the Boeing lobbyist Guy Spearman said, “The fact of the matter is we can’t build those suckers to last forever and ever and ever.” NADA/F fears that with no financial responsibility the industry will try unsuccessfully to fly them forever.

Another lobbyist J.M. “Mac” Stipanovich, said, “I don’t know what the poor people got, but the rich people are happy and I’m ready to go home.”

For further insults to the flying public, Bush said he would ask the Florida legislature to “try” and repeal this provision next year (2000). Gov. Jeb Bush refused to meet with family members and never addressed our concerns about Aviation Safety and Florida HB 755.