As reported in December, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed S7493A, the so-called ‘Stop the chop’ Bill citing the precedence of federal law and the FAA in particular in matters concerning overflight rights. While that Bill was rightly spiked, the hydra is back again. State Senator Brad Holman-Sigal, who had sought the complete closure of the West 30th St Heliport in the wake of the veto, has re-introduced the Bill, now branded S6109. S6109 is watered down from the original S7493A, but nonetheless seeks to ban flights “from publicly-owned land for the purposes of conducting sightseeing tours over New York City, or conducting photography, videography or similar production activities over New York City”.

What is less clear is how the Bill applies to the East 34th St Heliport owned by the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC). Since S6109 seeks to amend the text of the Hudson River Park Act 2013.

While the Bill has none of the stringency of S7493A – which sought to ban all non-emergency helicopter flights by making any individual involved liable for noise complaint lawsuits, the text does have a sting in the tail since it would also ban any operator who conducts as part of their business any of the banned mission types from using publicly-owned heliports (again the question of the East 34th St Heliport is moot) for flights for any other purpose.

The Bill has been referred for Judicial review.

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