Summary: S.140 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 115-282 (12/04/2018)

Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018

TITLE I--REORGANIZATION OF TITLE 14, UNITED STATES CODE

(Sec. 101) This bill reorganizes and makes technical changes to the U.S. Coast Guard's authorizing statute.

TITLE II--AUTHORIZATIONS

(Sec. 202) The bill extends the Coast Guard Reserve program through FY2018.

The bill extends through FY2019 the Coast Guard's (1) operation and maintenance; (2) environmental compliance and restoration functions; (3) Medicare-eligible retiree health care fund; (4) procurement, construction, renovation, and improvement of aids to navigation, shore facilities, vessels, aircraft, and systems; (5) maintenance, rehabilitation, lease, and operation of facilities and equipment; and (6) research, development, testing, and evaluation activities.

(Sec. 203) The Coast Guard is authorized an end-of-year strength for active duty personnel of 43,000 for FY2018 and 44,500 for FY2019.

(Sec. 204) The Coast Guard is authorized up to $167.5 million for the acquisition of three Fast Response Cutters.

(Sec. 205) The Coast Guard is authorized up to $167.5 million to fund the acquisition, construction, rebuilding, or improvement of Coast Guard shoreside infrastructure and facilities necessary to support Coast Guard operations and readiness.

(Sec. 206) The Coast Guard is authorized up to $3.5 million to fund analysis and program development for improvements to or the replacement of rotary-wing aircraft.

TITLE III--COAST GUARD

(Sec. 302) The Coast Guard must maintain a state of readiness to assist in the defense of the United States, including when functioning as a specialized service in the Department of the Navy.

(Sec. 303) The Coast Guard may establish a National Coast Guard Museum, on lands which will be federally owned and administered by the Coast Guard, and are located in New London, Connecticut, at, or in close proximity to, the Coast Guard Academy.

(Sec. 304) The Coast Guard must establish a land-based unmanned aircraft system program.

(Sec. 305) Health care professionals may practice their health profession for the Coast Guard at any location in the United States, regardless of where the professional or the patient is located.

(Sec. 306) The Coast Guard may make training available to emergency response providers.

(Sec. 307) The bill allows incentive contracts for the Coast Guard Yard or a Coast Guard industrial establishment.

(Sec. 308) The bill authorizes appropriations of up to $250,000 for confidential investigative expenses.

(Sec. 309) The bill revises how the Coast Guard calculates forced retirement for Coast Guard captains.

(Sec. 310) The assignment of Coast Guard vessel conversion, alteration, and repair projects must be based on economic and military considerations and may not be restricted by a requirement that certain parts of Coast Guard shipwork be assigned to a particular type of shipyard or geographical area or by a similar requirement.

(Sec. 311) The Coast Guard may enter into contracts for a major acquisition program.

(Sec. 312) The bill adjusts the number of officers in a promotion zone pool.

(Sec. 313) The bill provides a cross reference for the designation of aviation cadets.

(Sec. 314) The President may reduce the period of active commissioned service required to a period of not less than eight years for officers retiring in FY2018 or FY2019.

(Sec. 315) All officers and enlisted members of the Coast Guard must be authorized leave associated with the birth or adoption of a child during the one-year period immediately following such birth or adoption.

(Sec. 316) The bill eliminates the authority of the Coast Guard to provide clothing at the time of discharge.

(Sec. 317) The bill revises requirements for the Coast Guard's capital investment plan. The Coast Guard must submit to Congress a list of unfunded priorities.

(Sec. 318) The bill revises provisions to ensure the safety of vessels to include all vessels of the Armed Forces and not just Navy vessels.

(Sec. 319) The Coast Guard must provide opportunities for public comment prior to closing an air facility.

TITLE IV--PORTS AND WATERWAYS SAFETY

(Sec. 401) The bill codifies the Ports and Waterways Safety Act.

TITLE V--MARITIME TRANSPORTATION SAFETY

(Sec. 501) The Coast Guard must ensure that officers in charge of marine inspections consistently interpret regulations and standards to avoid disruption and undue expense to industry.

(Sec. 502) The bill allows uninspected passenger vessels on Crane Lake in St. Louis County, Minnesota, to carry up to 12 passengers.

(Sec. 503) The bill requires manufacturers, distributors, or dealers installing propulsion machinery and associated starting controls on certain recreational vessels less than 26 feet in overall length to include an engine cut-off switch. The Coast Guard may initiate a boating safety education program on the use and benefit of cut-off switches for recreational vessels.

(Sec. 504) The bill exempts fishing vessels equipped with an auxiliary craft from the requirement to have an additional survival craft onboard.

(Sec. 505) The bill allows an owner or operator of certain vessels to request a dockside exam by the Coast Guard every two years.

(Sec. 506) The bill transfers the Fishing Safety Research Grant Program from the Coast Guard to the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill also reauthorizes through FY2019 the grant program.

(Sec. 507) The bill increases the maximum length of a vessel from 79 feet to 180 feet for vessels participating in the alternate safety compliance program and states when a keel of a vessel is deemed to be laid.

(Sec. 508) The bill establishes a deadline for vessels participating in the alternate safety compliance program.

(Sec. 509) The bill makes technical corrections regarding termination of unsafe operations.

(Sec. 510) The bill makes technical corrections regarding licenses, certifications of registry, and merchant mariner documents.

(Sec. 511) The bill revises the requirement for vessel logbooks to include a record of accidents, illnesses, and injuries.

(Sec. 512) The bill allows recreational endorsements for a vessel to be effective for five years. Additionally, the Coast Guard must collect a fee for the issuance of a recreational vessel certificate.

(Sec. 513) The bill removes a requirement for the Coast Guard to number certain barges.

National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018

(Sec. 514) The Department of Transportation must establish a reliable, land-based, resilient alternative timing system.

(Sec. 515) The bill revises the definition of scientific personnel in regards to individuals on board an oceanographic research vessel to state that the term does not include any age restrictions.

(Sec. 516) The Coast Guard must publish any letter of determination issued by the Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center.

TITLE VI--ADVISORY COMMITTEES

(Sec. 601) The bill provides statutory authority for existing Coast Guard advisory committees.

(Sec. 602) The bill reorganizes and revises statutory language related to Maritime Security advisory committees, including to require the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee to advise the Coast Guard on matters relating to national maritime security.

TITLE VII-FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017

(Sec. 702) The bill extends the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) through FY2019.

(Sec. 703) The bill requires the FMC's annual report to include an analysis of the impacts of certain agreements on competition for the purchase of certain services by alliances of ocean common carriers.

(Sec. 704) The bill prohibits ocean common carriers from negotiating as a group for the purchase of (1) the berthing or bunkering of the vessel; (2) the loading or unloading of cargo to or from the vessel to or from a point on a wharf or terminal; (3) the positioning, removal, or replacement of buoys related to the movement of the vessel; and (4) with respect to injunctive relief, towing vessel services.

(Sec. 705) The FMC may require a marine terminal operator to file reports.

(Sec. 706) The FMC must request interested persons to submit relevant information and documents regarding an agreement between ocean common carriers or marine terminal operators filed in the Federal Register.

(Sec. 707) The bill prohibits a person from advertising as an ocean transportation intermediary without being licensed by the FMC and meeting financial responsibility requirements.

(Sec. 708) The bill prohibits a common carrier from knowingly and willfully accepting or transporting cargo for certain common carriers or ocean transportation intermediaries that do not meet FMC requirements.

(Sec. 709) The bill prohibits a conference or group of two or more common carriers from negotiating with a tug or towing service provider.

(Sec. 710) The FMC may consider any relevant competition factors in affected markets, including the competitive effect of agreements other than the agreement under review when determining if an agreement is likely to substantially lessen competition in the purchasing of certain services.

(Sec. 711) The FMC may have discussions that are closed to the public outside of its formal meeting process. They may not hold a formal or informal vote or undertake any official action during the discussions. The FMC is required to make available to the public information on the individuals present and a summary of matters discussed.

(Sec. 712) The FMC must submit to Congress biannual reports regarding unfinished regulatory proceedings.

(Sec. 713) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) must review the impacts of a major carrier bankruptcy on the supply chain and report its findings to Congress.

TITLE VIII--MISCELLANEOUS

(Sec. 801) The bill eliminates the requirement to report on accelerating the Integrated Deepwater System.

(Sec. 802) The bill amends the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Authorization Act of 2014 to authorize the Coast Guard to issue a certificate of documentation with a fishery endorsement for the F/V Western Challenger.

(Sec. 803) The Coast Guard must reduce lieutenant junior grade evaluation reports to the same length as that of an ensign or place lieutenant junior grade reports on an annual schedule.

The Coast Guard must also conduct surveys to determine the effectiveness of existing evaluation reports and to make revisions to the reports.

(Sec. 804) The bill permanently extends the authority of the Coast Guard to designate shortage category positions and recruit and appoint highly qualified people to the positions.

(Sec. 805) The Coast Guard must submit to Congress a report on the costs and benefits of creating a Coast Guard Reserve Officers' Training Corps Program.

(Sec. 806) The Coast Guard must establish a program to allow the use of canine currency detection teams for purposes of Coast Guard maritime law enforcement.

(Sec. 807) The Coast Guard must establish a Center of Expertise for Great Lakes Oil Spill Preparedness and Response. The center must be located in close proximity to critical crude oil transportation infrastructure and an institution of higher education with adequate research laboratory facilities and capabilities.

(Sec. 808) The Coast Guard must review its policies and procedures for public safety answering points and search and rescue coordination with state and local law enforcement entities.

(Sec. 809) Effective January 1, 2021, the bill repeals the transfer of the Ship Shoal Lighthouse to the city of Berwick, Louisiana.

(Sec. 810) The bill authorizes a land exchange between the owner of Ayakulik Island in Alaska and the Department of the Interior.

(Sec. 811) The bill revises the monthly requirement to detail the number of Coast Guard personnel who carried out Coast Guard missions on tract 43 in Alaska by making it a semiannual requirement.

(Sec. 812) The Coast Guard must seek to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences under which the academy must prepare an assessment of available unmanned, autonomous, or remotely controlled maritime domain awareness technologies for use by the Coast Guard.

(Sec. 813) The Coast Guard must conduct a one-year pilot program to determine the impact of persistent use of different types of surveillance systems on illegal maritime activities, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, in the Western Pacific region.

(Sec. 814) The Coast Guard may reimburse a nonfederal entity for costs incurred establishing an aid to navigation that facilitates safe and efficient marine transportation on a federally authorized navigation channel in an area that was affected by Hurricane Harvey.

(Sec. 815) The Coast Guard must review and compare the costs of towing vessel inspections performed by it and by a third party. If the costs are different, the Coast Guard must revise its inspection fee to reflect costs.

(Sec. 816) The bill amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to modify Coast Guard reporting requirements regarding the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and to repeal a requirement that the GAO audit the fund.

(Sec. 817) The Coast Guard must submit to Congress a report including an assessment of Coast Guard at-sea operational fleet requirements to support its statutory missions and a strategic plan for meeting those requirements.

(Sec. 818) The bill prohibits the Coast Guard from certifying an eighth National Security Cutter until it provides to Congress a cost comparison between increasing the number of days cutters are away from homeport and acquiring and operating an additional cutter.

(Sec. 819) The Coast Guard must submit to Congress a plan to replace or extend the life of the Coast Guard fleet of inland waterway and river tenders and the Bay-class icebreakers.

(Sec. 820) The Coast Guard may use funds to construct an icebreaker that is at least as capable as the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to enhance icebreaking capacity on the Great Lakes.

(Sec. 821) The Coast Guard must conduct an enhanced maintenance program on Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star to extend its service life through 2025.

(Sec. 822) The Coast Guard must submit to Congress a report on the progress toward implementing the strategic objectives described in the United States Coast Guard Arctic Strategy dated May 2013.

(Sec. 823) The Coast Guard may approve a vessel response plan for vessels operating in the Captain of the Port Zone that includes the Arctic, if certain verifications are made.

(Sec. 824) The GAO must submit to Congress a comprehensive review of the processes and resources used by the Coast Guard to implement vessel response plan requirements.

(Sec. 825) The bill exempts The Volunteer (Hull Number CCA4108), a replica canal boat operating on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, from various requirements applicable to vessels on navigable waters.

(Sec. 826) Coast Guard personnel performing nonrecreational vessel documentation may perform recreational vessel documentation functions in any fiscal year where (1) funds available for Coast Guard operating expenses may not be used for expenses incurred for recreational vessel documentation, (2) fees collected from owners of yachts and credited to such use are insufficient to pay expenses of recreational vessel documentation, and (3) there is a backlog of applications for recreational vessel documentation.

(Sec. 827) The Coast Guard must prescribe regulations that treat a marine throw bag (commonly used in the commercial whitewater rafting industry) as a type of lifesaving equipment.

The Coast Guard must also revise existing regulations to exempt rafts that are 16 feet or more overall in length from the requirement to carry an additional throwable personal flotation device when such a marine throw bag is onboard and accessible.

(Sec. 828) The Coast Guard must develop a performance standard for the alternative use and possession of visual distress signals for recreational boats.

(Sec. 829) The bill eliminates the requirement for a mariner to complete radar observer refresher training.

(Sec. 830) The Coast Guard must develop and implement a commercial fishing vessel safety national communications plan aimed at facilitating an increase in dialogue between the Coast Guard and commercial fishing vessel industry.

(Sec. 831) The Coast Guard must notify Congress of action taken to carry out the recommendation contained in the Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study published March 14, 2016.

(Sec. 832) The bill establishes an approval and notification process for a change in schedule that governs the opening of a drawbridge that will be in effect for 180 days or less.

The bill establishes requirements for drawbridge logbooks. The Coast Guard must review drawbridge logbooks for deviations from the posted schedule and may determine that the schedule should be adjusted.

(Sec. 833) The bill exempts the chain ferry DIANE (U.S. official number CG002692) from certain requirements when it is operating on the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck, Michigan.

(Sec. 834) The bill extends through December 1, 2028 and revises a fire retardant materials exemption for domestic passenger vessels that accommodate more than 50 passengers and were constructed before 1968.

(Sec. 835) The Coast Guard must issue a certificate of documentation with a coastwise and fishery endorsement to the fishing vessel America's Finest (U.S. official number 1276760). The Coast Guard must revoke the certificate if specified determinations are made about certain steel components of the vessel.

(Sec. 836) The bill establishes harvesting and processing limitations for the fishing vessels America's Finest, US Intrepid (U.S. official number 604439), American No. 1 (U.S. official number 610654), their replacement vessels, and any vessel assigned license number LLG3217 under the license limitation program.

(Sec. 837) The bill transfers Coast Guard property on Jupiter Island, Florida, to Interior for inclusion in the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.

(Sec. 838) The Coast Guard must request the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee to examine whether there are unnecessary regulatory barriers to the use of small passenger vessels, crewboats, and offshore supply vessels in disaster response and provide recommendations to reduce such barriers.

(Sec. 839) The Coast Guard must consult with owners and operators of rail lines used for Amtrak passenger service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Orlando, Florida, as well as affected waterway users on changes to drawbridge operating schedules necessary to facilitate the on time performance of passenger trains.

TITLE IX--VESSEL INCIDENTAL DISCHARGE ACT

Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2018

(Sec. 903) The bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish uniform national standards for marine pollution control devices for discharges incidental to normal operations of vessels.

The bill establishes requirements for discharges of ballast water.

The standards do not apply to any discharge incidental to the normal operation of (1) vessels of the Armed Forces, (2) certain recreational vessels, (3) permanently moored floating crafts, (4) vessels that continuously take on water and discharge ballast water in a flow-through system, (5) vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet that are scheduled for disposal or are without an operable ballast water system, (6) certain vessels that take on water from a public or commercial source, (7) vessels that carry ballast water in sealed tanks, and (8) vessels that only discharge into a reception facility.

The Coast Guard must promulgate regulations that allow for state enforcement of this title. The regulations must be developed in coordination with the states.

TITLE X--HYDROGRAPHIC SERVICES AND OTHER MATTERS

(Sec. 1001) The bill reauthorizes through FY2023 the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998.

(Sec. 1002) NOAA must develop and implement a system to track and report the full cost of hydrographic data collection and evaluate measures to compare costs.

(Sec. 1003) NOAA may accept nonfederal funds for the purpose of constructing a new port facility to facilitate the homeporting of the R/V Fairweather. NOAA must develop a strategic plan for construction or acquisition of the facilities needed to allow for an oceanographic research vessel to be homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida.