October 03, 2018

Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization Bill, Includes Key Provisions Authored by Harris

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018, incorporating key provisions introduced by U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris that will strengthen cybersecurity at ports and provide relief for victims of natural disasters. Harris also led the effort to ensure that a provision preempting state meal and rest break laws for truck drivers was kept out of the final bill in order to maintain driver and public safety standards on roads. The FAA Reauthorization Act provides five-year funding to the FAA and transforms federal disaster programs to better prepare communities for disasters.


“I’m pleased the legislation passed today incorporates critical reforms I proposed following recent natural disasters in California and Puerto Rico,” said Harris. “With these provisions, communities will be able to recover more quickly and victims will be better supported as they rebuild their lives. I’m also grateful that the hardworking women and men at our ports will now have greater support to tackle the growing threat of cybersecurity and asses this risk in the maritime sector.”


Harris continued, “State laws providing meal and rest breaks for truck drivers are critically important to protecting their safety and that of all those who use our roads and highways. I’m thankful these decades-old state laws - currently adopted in twenty-one states and U.S. territories including California - will remain protected.”


Harris’ provisions adopted in the FAA Reauthorization Act include negotiated language from the following three bills and one amendment:


Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act of 2017:

  • Incorporates best practices in cybersecurity policy into the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard maritime protective missions and establishes a model for assessing cybersecurity risk in the maritime sector, as well as guidelines for information sharing with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).


Counting Our Unexpected Natural Tragedies’ (COUNT) Victims Act:

  • Directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to contract with the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a study on how to best assess mortality during and in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The best practices and policy recommendations from the study can be used to establish federal procedures for counting fatalities following a natural disaster.


Disaster Victims Passport and ID Relief Act:

  • Creates a blanket waiver for replacement fees of critical documents for individuals and households who qualify for FEMA Individual Assistance as a result of a major disaster and explicitly includes childcare in the definition of private nonprofit facility.


Wildfires and Water Infrastructure Amendment:

  • Directs FEMA to assess its policies for providing assistance for underground water infrastructure damaged by natural disasters. In California, the City of Santa Rosa is currently dealing with an issue from underground water pipes that were impacted by the devastating wildfires that affected the region in 2017.