Tester aviation security bill soars out of committee

Senator’s bill brings accountability, transparency to TSA

(U.S. Senate) – Tough negotiations may be holding up some big name bills in Congress, but at least one smart measure is flying through Washington, D.C.: a bill to improve aviation security.

Senator Jon Tester’s bill will improve airport security by allowing more people to have a voice in making airports safer. The bill, which just passed the Commerce Committee, authorizes and improves the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC).

The ASAC provides security recommendations to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Tester’s bill would expand the panel to include more representatives from airlines, plane manufacturers, pilots, privacy rights groups and labor.

“Recent events around the world are tragic, but they’re also a reminder that we need as many voices as possible to keep our airports and skies safe,” Tester said. “This bill will help ensure that new TSA procedures make sense and are supported by those whose job it is to keep us safe while protecting travelers’ privacy. I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible.”

Tester’s bill, the Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act, directs the TSA to consult with the ASAC on the development and implementation of policies, programs and rules related to aviation security. The TSA is charged with protecting America’s transportation systems.

Tester has long been an advocate of making TSA more effective while protecting the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. He previously introduced a measure to criminalize any misuse of airport body scan images by TSA employees. That bill has passed the Senate.

A similar measure to Tester’s Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a wide margin in December. A copy of the bill Tester introduced, co-sponsored by Alaska Senator Mark Begich, is available online HERE. The slightly modified version passed by the Commerce Committee is available online HERE.

A one-page summary of the bill, including a list of proposed committee members, is available online HERE.