MIL-OSI USA: Congressman Robert Garcia Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve TSA Screening Experience for Travelers

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Robert Garcia California (42nd District)

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Robert Garcia (CA-42), joined by co-leads Congressman Nick LaLota (NY-01) and Congressman Morgan McGarvey (KY-03), introduced the Supporting Passengers with Efficient and Effective Detention (SPEED) through Screening Act, which will require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop strategies to reduce intrusive pat-downs without reducing transportation security, with particular consideration of passenger populations who receive pat-downs at disproportionately high rates. Security pat-downs during travel can be inconvenient, humiliating, and uncomfortable for travelers, and this legislation aims to make the travel process more respectful while maintaining the highest standards of security. To read the full bill text, click here.
 
“No one likes having strangers from TSA pat them down while going through the airport, but it can be especially uncomfortable for minority communities, people with disabilities, and for those who wear religious garments. The SPEED through Screening Act will push the TSA to do everything they can to make the traveling experience more comfortable and pleasant without compromising safety,” said Congressman Robert Garcia. “TSA has a responsibility to ensure their practices protect communities disproportionately targeted for security pat-downs while also protecting our national security. We must make sure folks feel respected as they undergo travel checkpoints, and don’t fear flying.”
 
“I’m proud to help introduce the bipartisan SPEED Through Screening Act, a crucial step towards making air travel more respectful and efficient. This commonsense bill requires the TSA to develop strategies to reduce invasive pat-downs, which can be uncomfortable and invasive for travelers,” said Congressman Nick LaLota. “This legislation prioritizes the well-being of all travelers and ensures that our travel process is secure and dignified. I look forward to working with Congressmen Garcia and McGarvey to get this bill signed into law and improve the lives of all Americans.”
 
“We’re long overdue to update and modernize TSA’s screening processes. It’s possible to improve the passenger experience without compromising our security and safety,” said Congressman Morgan McGarvey. “I’m proud to partner with Rep. Garcia on this important issue and will continue working to ensure TSA has not only the most effective screening technology but treats every traveler with dignity and respect.”
 
The Supporting Passengers with Efficient and Effective Detention (SPEED) through Screening Act will specifically require TSA to develop a strategy to reduce pat-downs without reducing security, with consideration for passenger populations who receive pat-downs at a disproportionately high rate; require TSA to develop a strategy to reduce the need for passengers to divest items when going through security; make a statutory change to allow for TSA to move forward with testing and operating standoff detection technology, which is a noninvasive technology that has the potential to improve the passenger experience; and require TSA to capture anonymized statistics regarding how it screens passengers to better understand the impacts of its screening operations.
 
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, some existing TSA practices can result in certain passengers being referred for additional screening more than others. These include minority communities, people with disabilities, and those who wear religious headwear, making these groups more susceptible to humiliating and invasive pat-downs even if they don’t pose a threat.

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