Los Santos, San Andreas – As seen in tonight’s exclusive interview with Commissioner Thad Furtaw of the State Police (SALP), Weazel News is following an ongoing fight between two departments of the San Andreas State Government. According to the leader of the Liberty Party, the Department of Commerce and Labor (DoCL) allegedly demanded the immediate termination of a San Andreas Flight Authority (SAFA) employee for tweeting a personal statement the business licensing agency was offended by. When SAFA leadership reportedly declined to comply over concerns that this would expose them to legal action on the grounds of a First Amendment Violation, DoCL allegedly struck back with a vengeance.
The Liberty Party claims that DoCL Commissioner Mikey Reggiano and his colleagues will be “ceasing the practice of licensing airline businesses” and are now “refusing to license garages at LSIA [Los Santos International Airport] to airlines”. Commissioner Furtaw alleges that this decision is in direct retribution to the refusal of their termination demand. If true, this would amount to the Department of Commerce and Labor leveraging its policy governance in an attempt to force another government agency to violate an individual’s First Amendment rights.
Weazel News sought to gain further confirmation of these alleged events and reached out to several members of the aviation industry this evening. When speaking with Gregory Drake of Drake Aviation (also a SAFA employee), we heard a corroborating story for at least part of the allegations.
A member of SAFA expressed their own personal belief that it completely unrelated to the opinions of the government agency that is the San Andreas Flight Authority, and DoCL was upset about it, which is reasonable. However, they wanted the San Andreas Flight Authority to terminate that person’s employment with us, and that it unacceptable as that person is protected under the First Amendment. They were expressing their own personal opinions not related to the San Andreas Flight Authority, and as such, they cannot be terminated for that.Gregory Drake, Drake Aviation, SAFA CP-M
This statement backs up the allegations from Commissioner Furtaw, at least up to the point of DoCL issuing its termination demand. When it came to the claim that DoCL was throttling the aviation industry with its regulatory powers, Mr. Drake had not heard of these details and could not comment on those allegations. Weazel News will continue to seek confirmation of these alleged actions.
In speaking of his own past experiences with aviation licensing through the Department of Commerce and Labor, Mr. Drake shared some frustrations with the process. In speaking of aviation businesses obtaining a commercial premise, he stated they would “outright refuse” such applications. “They were supposedly allowing leasing of a gate at LSIA. However, that never actually happened. They never actually did that for anybody, and when I attempted to […] lease a building from them, they straight out refused and said no.” So, it seems this isn’t the first instance of frustration with DoCL’s treatment of the aviation industry.
Weazel News also reached out to another SAFA employee and commercial pilot, Kiki Starr of BlackStarr Aviation, who declined to comment for this story. The Department of Commerce and Labor was unavailable for comment when Weazel News attempted to reach their leadership.
Commissioner Furtaw’s anti-DoCL stance extended further than this single incident, however. After sharing his frustration with the alleged impact of government regulations on South Side businesses, he also indicated the Liberty Party’s opposition to H.R. 116, Amendments to HR 039 Government Salary and Pay Schedule Act of 2022 Resolution. The bill adjusts pay for DoCL employees, providing the Commissioners with an 8.1% salary increase while also reducing the Board of Commissioners down to two members (from three). The Libersy Party feels this is a naked attempt by DoCL to get a “bill proposed by the legislature to pay themselves more money for less work”, referring to the allegations that the agency would cease licensing operations for the aviation industry.
This is a rogue agency governing from a position of self-interest, and with respect to SAFA, this will not fly.Commissioner Thad Furtaw, Liberty Party
It seems clear the Liberty Party sees a huge gap of perspective between the Department of Commerce and Labor and the aviation industry, and they seek to address it posthaste. Commissioner Furtaw plans to begin conversations with SAFA as well as commercial flight businesses to better represent their concerns. Weazel News will continue to update this story as we learn more about these allegations and follow the progress toward resolution of this matter.
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