Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Bills to Dramatically Rein in TSA

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced two bills aimed at reducing the power of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). S.3303 would end the TSA’s screening program and replace TSA-employed screeners with private contractors. S.3302 would grant air travelers additional protections from government intrusion. To that end, Sen. Paul’s website lists some key points of his “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

Full text of the bills can be found here:

  • S.3302 — To establish an air travelers’ bill of rights, to implement those rights, and for other purposes. [PDF]
  • S.3303 — To require security screening of passengers at airports to be carried out by private screening companies, and for other purposes. [PDF]