Airport Security Act heads to the White House

The only thing keeping the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), from becoming law is a signature from President Barack Obama.

Recently passing the U.S. House and Senate with bi-partisan support, the legislation is named in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent who was killed in a November 2013 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). He was the first TSA agent to be killed in the line of duty.

The legislation requires enhanced security and communication at domestic airports.

“The tragic shooting at LAX in 2013 is a reminder that there is still much work to be done to enhance security measures at our domestic airports, especially when it comes to coordinating our local, state and federal law enforcement efforts in responding to these incidents,” Katko, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation Security subcommittee, said. “This legislation makes important strides in enhancing preparedness to mitigate threats in our nation’s airports.”

Specifically, the legislation requires all high-risk surface transportation hubs to have a security response plan in place to effectively respond to security incidents. It also mandates regular testing of emergency communications equipment and requires measures be put into place to ensure emergency first responders are able to communicate with each other and the public during security incidents.

“Developing preparedness in our airports will go a long way in helping to ensure that the traveling public is kept safe,” Katko said. “Improving the response to threats to public safety will allow our nation’s transportation systems to overcome the challenges that were experienced by law enforcement, emergency first responders, TSA and the public during the LAX shooting.”