Update on the FAA Reauthorization Process
FEB 26, 2016 - The FAA Reauthorization Bill has been introduced in the House, reviewed and adopted by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as amended. Our 10 hours rest between duty periods and a Fatigue Risk Management Plan are included in the bill as well a AFA-promoted issues listed at the end of this update.
Now the Senate is writing its version of the bill, which is expected to be introduced in the coming days. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee "mark-up" will likely be scheduled prior to their Easter recess starting March 18th. This means committee action could take place on the very day of our March 16th Rally for Rest. Regardless, the Rally is well timed and it is assisting us in promoting inclusion of our rest/fatigue language. If you have not already RSVP’d, we encourage you to do that now: https://cdn.afacwa.org/issues/rest/.
Once both House and Senate bills are introduced and adopted by the respective committees, each full chamber must also vote on the bill. Amendments could also be considered during this process, although sometimes the bill can only be considered as adopted by the committee.
Next, a conference between the House and Senate is held to write common language. This final version of the bill must again be adopted by both chambers before going to the President’s desk for signature. We must remain engaged throughout the process and continue to use the power of our numbers to take action in support of rest and recognition of Flight Attendant fatigue.
The FAA Reauthorization bill is must-pass legislation, although our experience shows this might include several extensions before the long-term bill is passed. Getting our rest provisions in these base bills now sets a foundation for inclusion in the final passage of the bill regardless of when that actually occurs.
This week AFA has ramped up our advocacy to the U.S. Senator’s writing the FAA Bill; Sen. John Thune (ND), Sen. Kelly Ayote (NH), Sen. Bill Nelson (FL), Senator Maria Cantwell (WA), Senator Cory Gardner (CO) and all of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Thanks to a massive effort for calls from members, and special thanks to AFA Frontier for relentless efforts in generating calls from Colorado, we are making good progress with the Senate. But we can’t let up for a second. We have to keep up calls next week and right up to the point of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee vote on their version of the bill.
At the Rally for Rest on March 16, hundreds of Flight Attendants will urge members of the Senate to include the 10 hours minimum rest and a Fatigue Risk Management Plan into the Senate bill. We will also go to every House office to encourage support of our rest in the FAA Reauthorization bill and thank members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for recognizing the importance rest plays in supporting our health and the tools necessary to fulfill our duties as aviation’s first responders.
AFA supported components of the House bill includes:
- FAA Minimum Rest of 10 Hours and a Fatigue Risk Management Plan
- Human Trafficking Awareness Training
- Ban on Voice Communications in Flight
- A Revision of Evacuation Certification Standards
- Secondary Barriers
- Improved Notification of Insecticide Use
- Smoking Ban for E-Cigarettes
- Increased Penalty for Assault on Customer Service (Same as Flight Attendants)
- A Provision for Family Seating
AFA-CWA Government Affairs Director