S. 3302 (112th): Air Travelers’ Bill of Rights Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jun 14, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3302

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 14, 2012

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A BILL

To establish an air travelers' bill of rights, to implement those rights, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Air Travelers' Bill of Rights Act of 2012.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Definitions.

Sec. 3. Establishment of air travelers' bill of rights.

Sec. 4. Mandatory approval of applications under screening partnership program.

Sec. 5. Expansion of PreCheck program.

Sec. 6. Availability of canine teams for screening.

Sec. 7. Prohibition on use of random computer-generated screening.

Sec. 8. Limitations on screening using pat-downs.

Sec. 9. Prevention of humiliating searches.

Sec. 10. Liability of manufacturers of advanced imaging technology.

Sec. 11. Implementation of additional elements of air travelers' bill of rights.

Sec. 12. Passenger Privacy Protection Award.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Advanced imaging technology

The term advanced imaging technology has the meaning given that term in section 44901(l) of title 49, United States Code.

(2)

Air transportation

The term air transportation means air transportation and intrastate air transportation (as those terms are defined in section 40102 of title 49, United States Code).

(3)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.

(4)

Assistant Secretary

The term Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration).

(5)

Commercial service airport; primary airport

The terms commercial service airport and primary airport have the meanings given those terms in section 47102 of title 49, United States Code.

(6)

Screen; screening

The terms screen and screening refer to the process of screening a passenger traveling in air transportation at a commercial service airport for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries before the passenger enters the sterile area of an airport.

(7)

Sterile area

The term sterile area has the meaning given that term in section 1540.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on June 1, 2012).

3.

Establishment of air travelers' bill of rights

(a)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall—

(1)

establish a list of the rights of passengers traveling in air transportation that are screened at a primary airport (to be known as the air travelers' bill of rights); and

(2)

distribute the air travelers' bill of rights as required by subsection (c).

(b)

Elements

The air travelers' bill of rights shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1)

A passenger has the right to be presumed innocent before, during, and after screening.

(2)

A passenger has the right to choose to depart from an airport that has the freedom to choose to have screening conducted by employees of a private security screening company or Federal employees, depending on the needs of the airport.

(3)

A passenger who has been verified by the Transportation Security Administration as a low-risk or frequent traveler has the right to be screened through a process that is more expeditious and less intrusive than the standard screening process.

(4)

A passenger has the right to make a video recording of the screening of the passenger using recording devices approved by the Transportation Security Administration for that purpose.

(5)

A passenger has the right to be screened by a canine screening team if the passenger requests screening by such a team before beginning the screening process and such a team is available.

(6)

A passenger has the right to decline to be screened using a device that uses backscatter x-rays.

(7)

A passenger has the right to be free from searches and screening procedures not implemented for cause or because the passenger is the subject of suspicion, including searches and screening procedures resulting from the random selection of the passenger by a computer.

(8)

A passenger has the right to be screened by a method other than a pat-down unless—

(A)

the passenger has failed to be cleared to enter the sterile area of the airport after being screened using a metal detector or advanced imaging technology multiple times; or

(B)

the individual conducting the screening has a specific reason to suspect that the passenger is carrying items that are prohibited in the sterile area of the airport.

(9)

A passenger who is selected to be screened using a pat-down has the right to request that the pat-down be administered using the back, rather than the palm, of the hand of the individual conducting the screening.

(10)

A passenger who is 12 years of age or younger or 75 years of age or older has the right to be screened by a method other than a pat-down unless the individual conducting the screening has a high degree of suspicion that the passenger is carrying items that are prohibited in the sterile area of the airport.

(11)

A passenger who is 75 years of age or older, is dependent on a wheelchair for mobility, or is dependent on an approved medical device for the treatment of a chronic condition has the right to be screened in a private area out of the view of other passengers.

(12)

A passenger who is traveling with minor children has the right to accompany those minor children through the screening process.

(13)

A passenger has the right—

(A)

to have the privacy of any image of the passenger generated during the screening process maintained; and

(B)

to have all copies of any such image (other than a video recording described in paragraph (4) or generated by a surveillance camera) deleted immediately after the passenger is cleared to enter the sterile area of the airport.

(14)

A passenger has the right to have the passenger's baggage inspected—

(A)

by an individual conducting the inspection under the supervision of another individual; or

(B)

in an area visible to passengers or recorded by a surveillance camera.

(15)

A passenger has the right to be screened—

(A)

by individuals who are subject to liability for mistreatment or misconduct during screening; and

(B)

using technologies the manufacturers of which are subject to liability for harm caused by the use of those technologies.

(16)

A passenger who believes the passenger has been subjected to mistreatment during the screening process has the right to peacefully express the passenger's concerns to a supervisor of the individual who conducted the screening.

(17)

A passenger who is removed from or detained during the screening process has the right to contact an attorney promptly.

(c)

Distribution

The Assistant Secretary shall—

(1)

post the air travelers' bill of rights on the website of the Transportation Security Administration; and

(2)

provide the air travelers' bill of rights to passengers before they are subjected to screening at primary airports by—

(A)

posting the air travelers' bill of rights on a sign that is easily visible to passengers; or

(B)

distributing brochures that contain the air travelers' bill of rights to passengers.

4.

Mandatory approval of applications under screening partnership program

Section 44920 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by striking Under Secretary the first place it appears and inserting Assistant Secretary (Transportation Security Administration) (in this section referred to as the Assistant Secretary);

(2)

by striking Under Secretary each place it appears and inserting Assistant Secretary; and

(3)

by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

(b)

Approval of applications

The Assistant Secretary shall approve all applications submitted under subsection (a).

.

5.

Expansion of PreCheck program

The Assistant Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to expand the expedited screening initiative of the Transportation Security Administration known as PreCheck

(1)

not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, to all commercial service airports with more than 250,000 passenger boardings annually;

(2)

not later than 2 years after such date of enactment, to all commercial service airports with more than 100,000 passenger boardings annually; and

(3)

not later than 3 years after such date of enactment, to any other commercial service airport the operator of which requests to have PreCheck expanded to the airport.

6.

Availability of canine teams for screening

(a)

Increase in number of canine teams

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall increase the number of canine teams from the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program of the Transportation Security Administration placed at each commercial service airport in the United States with more than 2,500,000 passenger boardings each year to a number that is sufficient to ensure that at least one canine team can be tasked exclusively with screening passengers during the operating hours of the airport.

(b)

Prohibition on diversion of existing teams

The Assistant Secretary may not divert canine teams already placed at an airport from duties other than screening passengers to fulfill the requirement of subsection (a).

(c)

Deployment of teams

(1)

In general

The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the operator of an airport at which a canine team is required to be placed under subsection (a), shall determine appropriate procedures for deploying canine teams for screening passengers at that airport.

(2)

Requirements

At least one canine team shall be available to screen passengers during the operating hours of an airport, but a canine team is not required to be present at each passenger screening location.

(d)

Treatment of private security screening companies

If screening at an airport described in subsection (a) is conducted by a private security screening company pursuant to section 44920 of title 49, United States Code, the Assistant Secretary shall provide the private security screening company with a canine team if the company does not employ canine teams.

(e)

Report required

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the implementation of this section that includes—

(1)

the number of canine teams deployed pursuant to subsection (a);

(2)

the barriers, if any, to the full implementation of this section;

(3)

an assessment of the impact of the implementation of this section on—

(A)

the privacy of passengers during the screening process; and

(B)

the efficiency of the screening process; and

(4)

an assessment of the effectiveness of canine teams deployed pursuant to subsection (a) in identifying suspicious items.

7.

Prohibition on use of random computer-generated screening

(a)

In general

On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, passengers traveling in air transportation that are screened at a commercial service airport may not be screened using a device that uses advanced imaging technology if that device is programmed to randomly indicate that some passengers have failed to be cleared to enter the sterile area of the airport or uses a computer-based program for randomly selecting passengers to be screened.

(b)

Certification

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall certify to Congress that no devices described in subsection (a) are in use at any commercial service airport.

8.

Limitations on screening using pat-downs

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall prescribe regulations relating to the screening of passengers using pat-downs that prohibit the screening at a commercial service airport of—

(1)

a passenger who is 12 years of age or younger or 75 years of age or older using a pat-down unless the individual conducting the screening has a high degree of suspicion that the passenger is carrying items that are prohibited in the sterile area of the airport;

(2)

any other passenger using a pat-down unless—

(A)

the passenger requests to be screened using a pat-down;

(B)

the passenger has failed to be cleared to enter the sterile area of the airport after being screened using a metal detector or advanced imaging technology multiple times; or

(C)

the individual conducting the screening has a specific reason to suspect that the passenger is carrying items that are prohibited in the sterile area of the airport; and

(3)

any passenger using a pat-down conducted using the palm of the hand of the individual conducting the screening if the passenger requests that the pat-down be conducted using the back of the hand.

9.

Prevention of humiliating searches

(a)

In general

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall prescribe regulations to ensure that a passenger traveling in air transportation who is screened at a commercial service airport and uses a prosthetic limb, a breast pump, adult diapers, a wheelchair, an insulin pump, or any other medical device that requires special accommodations during the screening process is screened in a private area out of the view of other passengers if the passenger requests to be screened in a private area.

(b)

Termination of screeners for conducting humiliating searches

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall prescribe regulations to ensure that any individual employed by the Transportation Security Administration or a private security screening company to conduct screening at a commercial service airport is terminated if the individual—

(1)

commits a gross violation of the privacy of a passenger in a manner that is not supported by the policies of the Transportation Security Administration; or

(2)

violates subsection (a) or the policies of the Transportation Security Administration with respect to the screening of a passenger with a medical or other condition that requires special accommodations during the screening process, such as a passenger who is dependent on a wheelchair or another medical device.

10.

Liability of manufacturers of advanced imaging technology

Section 865 of the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 444) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking For purposes of this subtitle, the and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Exception

The term qualified anti-terrorism technology does not include—

(i)

advanced imaging technology; or

(ii)

any technology developed or acquired on or after the date of the enactment of the Air Travelers' Bill of Rights Act of 2012 for use in the screening of passengers at airports.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(7)

Advanced imaging technology

The term advanced imaging technology

(A)

means a device used in the screening of passengers at airports that creates a visual image of an individual showing the surface of the skin and revealing other objects on the body; and

(B)

includes devices using backscatter x-rays or millimeter waves and devices referred to as whole-body imaging technology or body scanning machines.

.

11.

Implementation of additional elements of air travelers' bill of rights

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all appropriate actions within the authority of the Secretary to implement any elements of the air travelers' bill of rights required by section 3 that are not included in the policies and practices of the Transportation Security Administration on the day before such date of enactment.

12.

Passenger Privacy Protection Award

(a)

In general

The Assistant Secretary shall provide an award (to be known as the Passenger Privacy Protection Award) for improving the privacy of passengers at airports each year to—

(1)

not fewer than 2 and not more than 4 primary airports; and

(2)

not more than one individual who is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

(b)

Criteria for airport awards

The Assistant Secretary shall provide a Passenger Privacy Protection Award to a primary airport based on the following criteria:

(1)

Most innovative improvements to the privacy of passengers.

(2)

Best facilities, or most improved facilities, for the promotion of the privacy of passengers.

(3)

Most courteous employees.

(4)

Commitment to advancing passenger privacy.

(5)

Advancement and promotion of passengers' rights.

(c)

Criteria for individual awards

The Assistant Secretary shall provide a Passenger Privacy Protection Award to an individual based on the following criteria:

(1)

Most innovative idea to improve the privacy of passengers.

(2)

The feasibility of implementing the idea without the acquisition of a product by the Transportation Security Administration.

(3)

Advancement and promotion of passengers' rights.

(d)

Applications

Except as provided in subsection (e)(1)(B), an airport or individual seeking a Passenger Privacy Protection Award shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Assistant Secretary may require.

(e)

Award website

The Assistant Secretary shall—

(1)

establish a website that—

(A)

contains information relating to the Passenger Privacy Protection Award, including—

(i)

the airports and individuals that received the Award; and

(ii)

the ideas and actions for which those airports and individuals received the Award; and

(B)

provides a mechanism for the submission of applications under subsection (d); and

(2)

include a link to the website required by paragraph (1) on the website of the Transportation Security Administration.

(f)

Funding

(1)

In general

Section 44945 of title 49, United States Code is amended to read as follows:

44945.

Disposition of unclaimed money

Notwithstanding section 3302 of title 31, unclaimed money recovered at any airport security checkpoint shall be disposed of as follows:

(1)

Not more than 10 percent of the unclaimed money shall be retained by the Transportation Security Administration during fiscal year 2013 and each fiscal year thereafter to provide Passenger Privacy Protection Awards under section 12 of the Air Travelers' Bill of Rights Act of 2012.

(2)

The remainder of the unclaimed money shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury and used for deficit reduction.

.

(2)

Distribution of award

Of the amount made available to the Assistant Secretary under section 44945 of title 49, United States Code (as amended by paragraph (1)) for a fiscal year—

(A)

not more than $30,000 may be used to provide Passenger Privacy Protection Awards to airports, not more than $15,000 of which may be provided to one airport; and

(B)

not more than $5,000 may be used to provide a Passenger Privacy Protection Award to an individual.