House Passes Payne, Jr.’s Aviation Security Bill

Nov 16, 2015 Issues: National Security

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed 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) requires the TSA to consult with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee regarding modifications to the prohibited items list, which includes items such as knives and firearms. The legislation now advances to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“Robust and continual collaboration between the TSA and key aviation stakeholders is essential to understanding security concerns and guiding smart aviation policy decisions,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Today’s vote brings us closer to passing into law legislation that enhances 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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