Legislation that would strengthen partnerships between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and key stakeholders was passed by the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security.
The Partners for Aviation Security Act (HR 3144), introduced by Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), which requires TSA to consult with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee regarding modifications to the prohibited item list, now goes to the full House Homeland Security Committee for consideration.
“Collaboration between the TSA and key aviation stakeholders is essential to enhancing security measures,” Payne said. “These stakeholders are able to provide the TSA with insights that will increase our understanding of security concerns and vulnerabilities and guide smart aviation policy decisions. There is a clear need to ensure that these partnerships remain robust and ongoing.”
Payne said, 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.
But under pressure from the Committee and a wide rangeof stakeholders, TSA ultimately reversed its position. Subsequently, the Government Accountability Office recommended 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, the legislation would also require a TSA report on the Transportation Security Oversight Board and a technical correction to existing law to ensure there are no lapses in activity for the Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
The Partners for Aviation Security Act would:
- Require TSA to consult, to the extent practicable, with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee about any changes made to the Prohibited Items List;
- Require TSA, within 120 days of enactment of the legislation, 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; and
- Clarify 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.