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S. 3681 (116th): Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2020


The text of the bill below is as of Aug 6, 2020 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 508

116th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3681

[Report No. 116–246]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 11, 2020

(for Mr. Markey (for himself and Mr. Blumenthal)) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

August 6, 2020

Reported by , with an amendment and an amendment to the title

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To require a joint task force on the operation of air travel during and after the COVID–19 pandemic, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Restoring Safety in the Skies Act of 2020.

2.

Joint task force on the operation of air travel

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Transportation shall form a Joint Task Force on the Operation of Air Travel during and after the COVID–19 pandemic (in this section referred to as the Joint Task Force).

(b)

Duties

The Joint Task Force shall develop plans, guidelines, and recommended requirements to address the logistical, health, safety, and security issues relating to the continued operation of air travel during the COVID–19 pandemic, as well as the resumption of full operations at airports and increased passenger air travel after the COVID–19 pandemic ends. The Joint Task Force shall develop, at a minimum, plans, guidelines, and recommended requirements for—

(1)

the immediate period after the end of the COVID–19 pandemic;

(2)

ongoing periods after the end of the COVID–19 pandemic;

(3)

reconfiguring and reforming airport and travel operations, including passenger queuing and security screening, as a result of current and anticipated permanent changes to passenger air travel during and after the COVID–19 pandemic, as well as the anticipated seasonal recurrence of the coronavirus;

(4)

reconfiguring and reforming the airplane boarding and deplaning processes, as well as baggage handling procedures, as a result of current and anticipated permanent changes to passenger air travel during and after the COVID–19 pandemic, as well as the anticipated seasonal recurrence of the coronavirus;

(5)

mitigating the public health and economic impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic and the anticipated seasonal recurrence of the coronavirus on airports and passenger air travel, including, but not limited to, the provision of personal protective equipment to aviation employees, the need for travelers to wear face masks, and the accommodation of social distancing;

(6)

addressing the privacy and civil liberty concerns created by passenger health screenings, contact-tracing, or any other process for monitoring the health of individuals engaged in air travel; and

(7)

operating procedures to manage future anticipated public health crises affecting air travel.

(c)

Membership

The Joint Task Force shall include, at a minimum, representatives of the following:

(1)

The Department of Transportation.

(2)

The Department of Homeland Security.

(3)

The Department of Health and Human Services.

(4)

The Federal Aviation Administration.

(5)

The Transportation Security Administration.

(6)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(7)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(8)

Airport operators.

(9)

Airlines.

(10)

Aircraft manufacturers.

(11)

Labor organizations representing aviation industry workers, including pilots, flight attendants, maintenance, and safety inspectors.

(12)

Public health experts.

(13)

Consumers and passenger rights organizations.

(14)

Privacy and civil liberty organizations.

(15)

Manufacturers of passenger screening technologies.

(d)

Reports

(1)

Preliminary report with emergency recommendations

As soon as practicable after the establishment of the Joint Task Force, the Joint Task Force shall submit a preliminary report to Congress that contains the plans, guidelines, and recommended requirements necessary to ensure safe air travel before the COVID–19 pandemic ends and during the immediate period after the end of such pandemic. The Joint Task Force may submit the preliminary report required under this paragraph in installments and may include interim versions of the Joint Task Force's plans, guidelines, and recommended requirements.

(2)

Final report

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Joint Task Force shall submit a final report to Congress that contains all of the plans, guidelines, and recommended requirements developed by the Joint Task Force, including any revised or finalized plans, guidelines, or recommended requirements that were included in an interim version in the preliminary report (or an installment of such report) submitted to Congress as required under paragraph (1).

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2020.

2.

Joint task force on air travel

(a)

In general

Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a Joint Task Force on Air Travel During and After the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency (in this section referred to as the Joint Task Force).

(b)

Duties

(1)

In general

The Joint Task Force shall develop recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines to address the health, safety, security, and logistical issues relating to the continuation of air travel during the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency, and with respect to the resumption of full operations at airports and increased passenger air travel after the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency ends. The Joint Task Force shall develop, at a minimum, recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines as appropriate, with respect to each of the applicable periods described in paragraph (2) for—

(A)

reforming airport, air carrier, security, and other passenger air travel-related operations, including passenger queuing, passenger security screening, boarding, deplaning, and baggage handling procedures, as a result of—

(i)

current and anticipated changes to passenger air travel during the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency and after that emergency ends; and

(ii)

anticipated changes to passenger air travel as a result of the projected seasonal recurrence of the coronavirus;

(B)

mitigating the public health and economic impacts of the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency and the projected seasonal recurrence of the coronavirus on airports and passenger air travel, including through the use of personal protective equipment for passengers and employees, the implementation of strategies to promote overall passenger and employee safety, and the accommodation of social distancing as necessary;

(C)

addressing the privacy and civil liberty concerns created by passenger health screenings, contact-tracing, or any other process for monitoring the health of individuals engaged in air travel; and

(D)

operating procedures to manage future public health crises affecting air travel.

(2)

Applicable periods

For purposes of paragraph (1), the applicable periods are the following:

(A)

The period beginning with the date of the first meeting of the Joint Task Force and ending with the date on which the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency ends.

(B)

The 1-year period beginning on the day after the period described in subparagraph (A) ends.

(c)

Requirements

(1)

In general

In developing the recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines under subsection (b), and prior to including them in the final report required under subsection (f)(2), the Joint Task Force shall—

(A)

consider the consensus recommendations of the Advisory Committee established under subsection (e);

(B)

conduct cost-benefit evaluations;

(C)

consider funding constraints; and

(D)

use risk-based decision-making.

(2)

International consultation

The Joint Task Force shall consult, as practicable, with relevant international entities and operators, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, towards the goal of maximizing the harmonization of recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines for air travel during and after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

(d)

Membership

(1)

Chair

The Secretary of Transportation (or the Secretary's designee) shall serve as Chair of the Joint Task Force.

(2)

Vice-Chair

The Secretary of Health and Human Services (or the Secretary's designee) shall serve as Vice Chair of the Joint Task Force.

(3)

Other members

In addition to the Chair and Vice Chair, the members of the Joint Task Force shall include representatives of the following:

(A)

The Department of Transportation.

(B)

The Department of Homeland Security.

(C)

The Department of Health and Human Services.

(D)

The Federal Aviation Administration.

(E)

The Transportation Security Administration.

(F)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(G)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(H)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

(I)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

(J)

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

(K)

The Department of State.

(L)

The Environmental Protection Agency.

(e)

Advisory committee

(1)

Establishment

Not later than 15 days after the date on which the Joint Task Force is established under subsection (a), the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a Joint Federal Advisory Committee to advise the Joint Task Force (in this section referred to as the Advisory Committee).

(2)

Membership

The members of the Advisory Committee shall include representatives of the following:

(A)

Airport operators designated by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security.

(B)

Air carriers designated by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security.

(C)

Aircraft and aviation manufacturers designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

(D)

Labor organizations representing aviation industry workers, including, but not limited to, pilots, flight attendants, maintenance, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and safety inspectors, designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

(E)

Public health experts designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(F)

Consumers and air passenger rights organizations designated by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security.

(G)

Privacy and civil liberty organizations designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(H)

Manufacturers and integrators of air passenger screening and identity verification technologies designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(I)

Trade associations representing air carriers, including, but not limited to, major air carriers, low cost carriers, regional air carriers, cargo air carriers, and foreign air carriers, designated by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security.

(J)

Trade associations representing airport operators designated by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security.

(3)

Vacancies

Any vacancy in the membership of the Advisory Committee shall not affect its responsibilities, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

(4)

Duties

(A)

In general

The Advisory Committee shall develop and submit policy recommendations to the Joint Task Force regarding the recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines to be developed by the Joint Task Force under subsection (b).

(B)

Publication

Not later than 14 days after the date on which the Advisory Committee submits policy recommendations to the Joint Task Force in accordance with subparagraph (A), the Secretary of Transportation shall publish the policy recommendations on a publicly accessible website.

(5)

Prohibition on compensation

The members of the Advisory Committee shall not receive any compensation from the Federal Government by reason of their service on the Advisory Committee.

(f)

Briefings and reports

(1)

Preliminary briefings

As soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months after the establishment of the Joint Task Force, the Joint Task Force shall begin providing preliminary briefings for Congress on the status of the development of the recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines under subsection (b). The preliminary briefings shall include interim versions, if any, of the Joint Task Force's recommendations.

(2)

Final report

(A)

Deadline

As soon as practicable, but not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Joint Task Force shall submit a final report to Congress.

(B)

Content

The final report shall include the following:

(i)

All of the recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines developed by the Joint Task Force.

(ii)

A description of any actions taken by the Federal Government as a result of such recommendations.

(g)

Termination

The Joint Task Force and Advisory Committee shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the Joint Task Force submits the final report required under subsection (f)(2).

(h)

Definition

In this section, the term COVID–19 Public Health Emergency means the public health emergency first declared on January 31, 2020, by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d) with respect to COVID–19 and includes any renewal of such declaration pursuant to such section 319.

Amend the title so as to read: A bill to require a joint task force on air travel during and after the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency, and for other purposes..

August 6, 2020

Reported with an amendment and an amendment to the title