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Sen. Paul Introduces Legislation for Passenger Bill of Rights, Privatized Airport Screeners

Jun 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week Sen. Rand Paul introduced two pieces of legislation to streamline and rein in the Transportation Security Administration's screening processes and treatment of passengers.

The first piece of legislation, S.3302, establishes a "Bill of Rights" for air travelers, establishes protections for passengers, guidelines for screening procedures, and requires reforms to the air security bureaucracy. This Bill of Rights is listed at the bottom of this release. It also requires 90 percent of unclaimed change left at screening points to be returned to the U.S. Treasury through an incentive program to airports.

The second bill, S.3303, ends the TSA screening program and requires screening of passengers at airports to be conducted by private screeners only.

"Many of TSA's screening procedures simply defy common sense, such as 'enhanced pat-downs' of elderly passengers, young children, or those with disabilities. It seems that every day brings a new account of mistreatment by TSA agents during the screening process. While aviation security is undoubtedly important, we must be diligent in protecting the rights of all Americans, such as their freedom from being subjected to humiliating and intrusive searches by TSA agents, especially when there is no obvious cause," Sen. Paul said.

"It is important that the rules and boundaries of our airport screening process be transparent and easily available to travelers so that proper restraints are in place on screeners. Travelers should be empowered with the knowledge necessary to protect themselves from a violation of their rights and dignity," he continued.

Among the 17 minimum rights laid out in the passenger Bill of Rights: 

  • A TSA screener "opt-out" for airports, allowing them access to the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) and private screeners;
  • A one-year deadline to implement a screening process for pre-cleared frequent-flyers at all airports with more than 250,000 annual flights;
  • Authority to permit travelers who fail to pass imaging or metal detector screening to choose to be re-screened rather than subjected to an automatic pat-down;
  • Expansion of canine screening at airports, a more effective and less invasive method of screening passengers for explosives, as well as a strong deterrent;
  • Eliminating unnecessary pat-downs for children 12 years of age or under;
  • Right of parents to stay with their children during the screening process;
  • Guaranteeing a traveler's right to request a pat-down using only the back of the hand;
  • Protection of a traveler's right to appropriately object to mistreatment by screeners;
  • Protection of a traveler's right to decline a backscatter X-ray scan, a screening method with potentially harmful health effects;
  • Protection of a traveler's right to contact an attorney if detained or removed from screening;

The bill would require these and other reforms be collected into a single Bill of Rights to be distributed by TSA at airports and placed on TSA's public website.

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Contact Senator Rand Paul at One of his Offices

Bowling Green - Main State Office
1029 State Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-782-8303

Owensboro
423 Federica St, Ste 305
Owensboro, KY 42301
Phone: 270-689-9085

Crescent Springs
541 Buttermilk Pk Ste 102
Crescent Springs, KY 41017
Phone: 859-426-0165

Lexington
771 Corporate Dr, Ste 105
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-219-2239

Louisville
600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pl,
Rm 1072B
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-5341

Hopkinsville
1100 S. Main St, Ste 12
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Phone: 270-885-1212

Washington, DC
124 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-4343