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Image by Nancy Simpson
From A Press Release
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is refusing to turn off and stow her effort to reevaluate rules restricting in-flight use of portable electronic devices [PEDs], telling the nation’s air travel chief today that she will begin drafting legislation to loosen the restrictions.
In December, McCaskill wrote to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta, telling him that she would look at legislative solutions if his agency delayed a reconsideration of restrictions. Today, after a response from the agency that McCaskill deemed “concerning,” she criticized Huerta for his “lack of direct engagement” on the issue.
“…[G]iven my concerns with the agency’s lack of commitment to adopt changes to the current PED rules, I am beginning to draft legislation,” McCaskill wrote in her response. “In the coming weeks, I will be meeting with various stakeholders to receive input on the issue, and I will be working with my colleagues to build bipartisan support for action in Congress.”
McCaskill’s previous letter to Huerta highlighted the flaws in the existing rules by pointing out that the FAA already allows airlines to replace their paper flight manuals in the cockpit with tablet computers. Current rules do not allow passengers to use PEDs for the full duration of a flight. Other government officials, including Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, have also urged the FAA to change the current rules regarding PED use.
Last week, McCaskill met directly with Genachowski to discuss a variety of issues, including expanded use of PEDs. McCaskill has served on the Senate Committee on Commerce since joining the Senate in 2007, which has jurisdiction over aviation and communications policy, and this year was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.
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