Homeland Security Committee Passes Payne Aviation Security Bill with Bipartisan Support

Sep 30, 2015 Issues: Infrastructure and Transportation

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Committee on Homeland Security passed, with bipartisan support, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.’s (NJ-10) legislation to strengthen collaboration between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, which advises the TSA on security matters. The Partners for Aviation Security Act (H.R.3144), which requires the TSA to consult with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee regarding modifications to the prohibited items list, now advances to the full House of Representatives for review.

“My district is home to Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation, so I know how important it is to have robust collaboration between the TSA and key aviation stakeholders,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “These partnerships enhance our understanding of security concerns and vulnerabilities and guide smart aviation policy decisions. The Homeland Security Committee’s passage of my legislation is an important step toward ensuring that the TSA and its partners continue to work together to ensure the security of our aviation infrastructure and our citizens.”

In 2012, then-TSA Administrator John Pistole changed the prohibited items list to allow small knives and sporting goods equipment to be stowed in carry-on luggage and eventually allowed on planes. Under pressure from the Committee on Homeland Security and a wide range of stakeholders, TSA ultimately reversed its position. Subsequently, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended that the TSA put protocols in place to consult stakeholders before making such changes to the prohibited items list.

In addition to requiring TSA consultation with key stakeholders, Congressman Payne, Jr.’s legislation requires a TSA report on the Transportation Security Oversight Board and makes a technical correction to existing law to ensure that there are no lapses in activity for the Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

The Partners for Aviation Security Act:

  • Requires the Transportation Security Administration to consult, to the extent practicable, with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee about any changes made to the prohibited items list.
  • Requires the Transportation Security Administration, within 120 days of enactment, to report on the status and activities of the Transportation Security Oversight Board (TSOB). The report may include recommendations for changes to the TSOB in light of the establishment of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
  • Clarifies existing law by ensuring that after a member of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee serves for two years, he or she may continue to serve on the committee until a successor is in place.

Congressman Payne, Jr. is the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications.

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