The Senate has passed
(75-20) a four-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) programs. Passage of this legislation has been an arduous
process, with numerous short-term extensions since the last four-year
reauthorization in 2003. During the first half of the 112th
Congress, both chambers passed FAA Reauthorization legislation,
sending the chambers’ differences to a conference committee.
A conference report was stalled due to contentious language
regarding union proceedings. Finally, on February 1, 2012, Conference
Report 112-381 was filed. Shortly thereafter the House agreed on
the report (248 – 169) and the Senate followed suit.
Throughout the entirety
of the 112th Congress NAPO worked with members in both
chambers and on both ends of the political spectrum to include language
making the aiming of the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft
or in its flight path a punishable offense. Legislation (H.R. 386)
was first introduced by Congressman Dan Lungren
(R-CA) in January 2011, and passed out of committees. Then, by a
voice vote the House passed H.R. 386 and it was referred to the
Senate. Companion legislation (S. 1608) was introduced by Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in September. NAPO worked with both of
these offices as well as Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Barbara
Boxer (D-CA). Additionally, NAPO worked in conjunction with these
offices on S. AMDT. 8, submitted by Senator Whitehouse
to the FAA Reauthorization bill that was agreed to 96-1.
NAPO’s statements of support were included in the Congressional
The Federal Flight Deck
Officers Association is a valued member of NAPO. Together, we have
a vested interest in protecting pilots and passengers from the harmful
effects of laser pointers. Reports of laser pointers being aimed
at aircraft have dramatically increased over the past few years.
Laser beams pointed at an aircraft can cause temporary blindness
to pilots thus jeopardizing aviation security. The inclusion of
this important provision within the FAA Reauthorization Bill will
not only help to protect those directly affected by the lasers but
also strengthen the enforcement of homeland security. Our investment
demonstrates NAPO’s commitment to the safety of our nation, the
community, and law enforcement officers.
Look for additional
coverage on the FAA Reauthorization from NAPO when President Obama
signs H.R. 658 into public law. If you have any questions in the
meantime please do not hesitate to reach out to NAPO’s Director
of Government Affairs, Rachel Hedge via email email@example.com
or phone: 703-549-0775.