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Safety & Advocacy - June 2016

IAAPA U.S. Advocacy Days 2016 Visits United States Congress

Members discuss drones, overtime, and more with government officials

Reporting by Prasana William
Photography by Kaz+Zen Photography

From April 11 to 13, 32 IAAPA members from North America met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to discuss legislative and regulatory issues during IAAPA U.S. Advocacy Days 2016. Ranging from drones to labor, the issues addressed during the meetings are at the center of regulation that could impact the industry. IAAPA members were able to bring their concerns to the offices of their local congressmen and women—developing relationships and establishing themselves as reliable sources of information about the industry.

Here’s a look at the issues and events of this year’s IAAPA U.S. Advocacy Days.

Advocacy in Action

Participants met with the offices of congressmen and women from 14 states, including Florida, California, and New Jersey. Each visit gave IAAPA members the opportunity to discuss issues relevant to the industry locally and country wide. These issues included:

Federal oversight of fixed-site rides: The attractions industry supports state regulation based on the ASTM F24 standards for ride safety rather than federal oversight. ASTM F24 is an internationally recognized standard and is used by attractions worldwide. These voluntary standards have been adopted by 32 states and many countries throughout the world.

FLSA overtime rules: A year ago, the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule that would revise the overtime regulations defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposal calls for an increase in the salary threshold for classifying an employee as exempt from overtime from $23,660 to $50,440. The change in overtime rules would force many facilities to turn salaried jobs into hourly jobs and replace positions with automation to shoulder the financial burden.

Unmanned aerial systems: More commonly known as drones, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have been a sticky issue for attractions in the United States. The industry has an interest in using UAS for safety inspection and entertainment, but it also must protect the safety of guests and staff by limiting the use of unauthorized UAS above facilities. There are two bills in the House and Senate that restrict use of UAS above fixed sites that operate amusement rides. IAAPA members urged their congressmen and women to pass the relevant bills.

Expert Speakers and Hot Topics

Participants had the opportunity to hear experts speak on regulation issues relevant to the U.S. industry. Dr. Chad Moutray, chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers, covered the global economy in the manufacturing industry—noting that job openings are at all-time high in the industry and that the service sector is making a comeback.

Congressman Daniel Webster of Florida provided a political outlook that addressed drones and the current state of productivity in Congress.

Laura J. Brown, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), spoke on public outreach about UAS. The FAA created inserts that illustrated the rules to be included in the packaging of drones. The agency also reached out at major events where drones could be used, like festivals and sports events, and at places where they were more likely to be flown, like airports.  (For more information on the FAA’s advice on drones, see p. 34).

Kelly Hastings, senior advisor, government relations at Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), went into great detail on the FLSA overtime rules and its impact on labor. SHRM research has shown that 61 percent of employers polled believed that reclassifying overtime exemption would hurt morale, negatively impact the hope for career mobility, and reduce workplace flexibility.