Bill Would Create California Aerospace & Aviation Commission

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A bill now being considered in the Legislature would create a 17-member California Aerospace and Aviation Commission to promote the industries within the state.

“The purpose of the commission is to serve as a central point of contact for businesses engaged in the aerospace and aviation industries and to support the health and competitiveness of these industries in California,” the bill reads.

“The commission shall make recommendations to the Legislature, the Governor, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and other state agencies on legislative or administrative actions that may be necessary or helpful to maintain and improve the position of the state’s aerospace and aviation industries in the national and world markets,” the bill adds.

Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved the measure unanimously on Jan. 18.

The measure, introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates), also authorizes the commission to hold hearings on industry issues, approve or modify marketing and promotional initiatives developed by the director, and host and participate in trade shows.

The commission would be headed by an executive director and be located within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Commission members drawn from industry, government and academia would be appointed by the governor, the Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the Assembly.

The bill calls for the commission to be funded with “nonstate moneys,” such as federal funds and private donations. A contribution from a single donor could not exceed 25 percent of the annual budget in any calendar year.

California had similar organizations in the past. The California Space and Technology Alliance was established in 1996. It was succeeded by the California Space Authority (CSA) in 2001, which enjoyed financial support from such industry giants as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

CSA folded in 2011 amid financial difficulties and questions by critics as to the organization’s effectiveness.

  • Kenneth_Brown

    I remember the CSA and it’s lack of focus. California has long been a home of aerospace companies, but it’s gets harder every year to have a business in the state. It’s hard to see how an unfunded commission is going to help change all of that for a narrow market segment. Aerospace companies will locate in CA if he business environment is good and there are facilities to do the types of work that needs to be done at a cost that is reasonable. Jeff Bezos found it much more cost effective to buy a chunk of land away from everything in Texas for testing and locate his design and build facility in Washington state. It’s hard to see if there is anyplace in CA where it would be possible to conduct test flights of a vehicle like Blue Origin’s. The wide open spaces are military bases or national parks.