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"Airport Security Legislation Update - Action in House Expected Next Week"



Title: Message

October 25, 2001

Airport Security Legislation Update – Action in House Expected Next Week
AAAE/ACI-NA

Although it does not appear that much progress is being made in resolving the contentious issue on whether or not airport screeners should be federal workers, leaders in the House of Representatives have indicated that they intend to take up airport security legislation sometime toward the middle of next week. Action to this point in the House has been stalled in large part due to the screener issue, although some members have expressed concerns about additional fees – including the prospect of an airport Security Facility Charge – on airline passengers intended to pay for new security measures. It is unclear at the moment exactly how the bill will move to the floor or what the rules will be on debate once it gets there.

On the screener issue, House Republican leaders and Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee remain insistent that the President be given the flexibility to decide whether or not screeners should be federal employees or contract employees held to higher standards for training and proficiency. In contrast, many House Democrats are pushing for legislation similar to that passed unanimously by the Senate that would require all screeners to be federal employees. Although most airports agree there should be federal oversight of security screeners, many are not convinced that using federal employees exclusively is the best approach. We continue to relay those concerns to Members of Congress and their staffs and make the point that professionalization of the screener workforce – with better training and certification – is the critical need. See the table below for a quick side-by-side comparison of a few of the key issues on airport security legislation. For more detailed information, go to: http://www.airportnet.org/secure/federal/alerts/2001/a101601bills.htm

The impasse on the issue gives us one more week to continue making our case for relief to airports for federally imposed security mandates and for other airport priorities. Although many members of Congress and most of the Capitol Hill staff have been temporarily displaced while authorities continue to sweep for anthrax, messages are still getting through in most cases. Your calls are all-the-more important as Congress works toward final action on the legislation.

Issue

Senate-Passed Bill

S. 1447

House Republican Bill

H.R. 3150

House Democratic Bill

H.R. 3110

Funding for Airport Security Expenses

  • DOES NOT provide direct federal reimbursement to airports for FAA mandated security expenses, such as law enforcement.
  • Authorizes (without direct appropriations) such sums as necessary to allow airports to meet FAA mandated security expenses.
  • Gives all airports AIP/PFC flexibility in FY 2002 to pay for security related operational expenses.
  • Eliminates the local match for security related operational expenses paid for by AIP funds.
  • For FY 2003, allows airports to use either 2000 or 2001 enplanement numbers for entitlement calculations.
  • Expedites the approval of PFC requests aimed at paying for security related operational expenses.
  • DOES NOT provide direct federal reimbursement to airports for FAA mandated security expenses, such as law enforcement.
  • Authorizes (without direct appropriations) $1.5 billion to airports for FY 2002 to reimburse airports for FAA mandated security expenses.
  • Gives non-hub and small hub airports permanent AIP/PFC flexibility to pay for law enforcement personnel.
  • Gives airports in FY 2002 flexibility to use AIP/PFC revenues for payments for "debt service on indebtedness incurred to carry out a project if the Secretary determines such payments are necessary to prevent a default on the indebtedness."
  • Gives non-primary airports affected by the closure of Class B airspace flexibility to use AIP funding in FY 2002 for any activity, including operational activities.
  • DOES NOT give airports larger than small hubs AIP/PFC flexibility for security related operational expenses.
  • Eliminates the requirement for competition plans for FY 2002 for AIP grants or PFC application if the grant or fee is used to improve security at the airport.
  • Eliminates the local match for security related operational expenses paid for by AIP funds at non-hub or small hub airports.
  • DOES NOT provide direct federal reimbursement to airports for FAA mandated security expenses, such as law enforcement.
  • Authorizes a Security Facility Charge of $1 on each paying passenger boarding at an airport to reimburse the airport for FAA mandated security expenses.
  • Authorizes (without direct appropriations) $500 million for FY 2002 to reimburse airports for FAA mandated security expenses.

 

Security Screeners & Access Control

 

 

 

 

 

  • Gives the Attorney General responsibility for federal security screening operations, including hiring and training of personnel.
  • Federal employees are required to provide screening except at non-hubs, where local or state law enforcement can perform these functions provided they have been adequately trained, there is a reimbursable agreement with the airport, and the airport sponsor has been consulted. Modified measures for non-hubs may be prescribed where the airport is not in operation at all hours.
  • All passengers as well as cargo, carry-on, and checked bags must be screened prior to boarding.
  • Screening is required for all persons – including airport, air carrier, and concessionaire employees – before they are allowed into sterile or secure areas of the airport.
  • Law Enforcement Officials are required at all screening locations at an airport. More than one LEO may be required at each screening point at the top 100 airports.
  • Under Secretary of Transportation for Security is responsible for screening of passengers and property.
  • Under Secretary shall provide employment standards, training, and proficiency levels for all screeners. These individuals, however, are not required to be federal employees.
  • Requires law enforcement or military presence at each screening location.
  • Imposes standards for the screening or inspection of persons and vehicles with access to secure areas.
  • Under Secretary of Transportation for Security is responsible for screening of passengers and property.
  • All security-screening functions are federalized by the end of a one-year transition period with federal employees handling all screening duties at all airports.
  • Requires the screening of all persons, vehicles and other equipment entering secure areas.
  • Requires catering and other companies with access to secure areas to develop security programs.

Background Checks

 

 

  • Requires within 9 months criminal history checks for all existing employees with unescorted access to secure areas unless individuals have had checks within 5 years of enactment.

 

  • Allows all airports to speed up current three-year phase in under existing law for performing criminal history checks on screeners and individuals with unescorted access to secure areas.
  • Requires all air carrier, airport and screening personnel with access to secure areas and persons seeking access to secure areas to submit to a background check, criminal history record check and checks against federal national security databases.

300-Foot Rule

  • Requires the FAA to consult with state or local law enforcement officials to conduct a threat assessment at small community airports to determine the continued need for the 300-foot rule.

 

 

 

 

  • Allows airports in consultation with appropriate state or local law enforcement authorities to conduct a threat assessment of the airport to determine whether vehicles should be permitted to park within 300 feet of a terminal. If the airport operator determines that safeguards are in place to sufficiently protect public safety and certifies in writing with the Secretary that is the case, the restriction can be removed.
  • No provision.
 

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