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President Obama Signs FAA Reauthorization BIll Into Law

Posted @ Wednesday, July 20, 2016    By Zach Israel
Posted in [ Blog, Transportation, Legislative ] | 0 Comments

On Friday, July 15, President Obama signed the "FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016" (H.R. 636) into law, which extends Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program, spending, and tax authorities through September 30, 2017 at current funding levels. The House passed the bill by voice vote on July 11 and the Senate passed the bill on July 13 by a vote of 89-4. The bill also provides important aviation safety, security, and time-sensitive improvements, including:

  • Streamlines processes for approval and interagency cooperation to deploy drones during emergencies, such as disaster responses and wildfires;
  • Prohibits drone users from interfering with emergency response activities, including wildfire suppression, and raises civil penalties to not more than $20,000 for those found in violation;
  • Creates new processes to detect, identify, and mitigate unauthorized operation of drones around airports and critical infrastructure;
  • Requires the FAA to provide quarterly updates to Congress regarding the number of incidents involving laser pointers being aimed at aircraft, and the number of civil or criminal enforcement actions taken by federal authorities with regard to these incidents;
  • Expands the TSA PreCheck program by directing TSA to partner with the private sector to develop enhanced enrollment and vetting methods;
  • Requires air carriers to provide a refund of paid baggage fees when items are lost or unreasonably delayed; and
  • Requires airlines to generally ensure that children 13 years of age or under are seated adjacent to an adult or older child traveling with them. 

Now that H.R. 636 has been signed into law, Congressional action on aviation-related issues in the 114th Congress is likely at an end, to resume next year in a new Congress and with a new President. Read more...  

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