Text: H.R.7128 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/08/2020)


116th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 7128


To ensure the safety of air passengers and the public by authorizing States to implement reasonable guidelines and restrictions on passenger air travel, to amend title 49, United States Code, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 8, 2020

Mr. Case introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


A BILL

To ensure the safety of air passengers and the public by authorizing States to implement reasonable guidelines and restrictions on passenger air travel, to amend title 49, United States Code, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Air Travel Public Health Emergency Protection Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Passenger air travel is or can be a major vector in the spread of certain communicable diseases such as COVID–19.

(2) Air passengers who have been infected by such communicable diseases, especially during a declared national public health emergency, present a serious public health risk not only to their fellow passengers but to all who come in contact with them at their destinations and upon their return.

(3) Further, such air passengers present a serious negative economic consequence to the airlines on which they fly and to the destinations at which they arrive, especially destinations reliant on the travel and tourism industry, as they destroy public confidence in the health and safety of air travel and of such destinations.

(4) The best mechanism to address these negative consequences during a declared national public health emergency is for potential air passengers to be tested for symptoms of the relevant communicable disease before boarding airlines and to be denied boarding if such symptoms are indicated.

(5) The Federal Aviation Administration has taken the position that it does not have existing statutory authority to impose a public health-related requirement on passenger airlines that they test all potential air passengers for symptoms of the relevant communicable disease before boarding airlines and deny boarding if such symptoms are indicated, and further that individual States are not authorized to impose such requirements in the exercise of their police power to protect the public health and foster economic and social stability.

(6) As a result, some States, in furtherance of those goals, have been required to adopt far more risky and less effective methods which consume scarce resources, including a post-arrival self-policing quarantine which is widely disregarded.

SEC. 3. Purpose.

The purpose of this Act shall be to authorize any State to impose reasonable public health-protective conditions on the boarding of any passenger on a passenger airline at the point of origin of a direct flight to such State during a public health emergency.

SEC. 4. Public health accommodations.

(a) In general.—The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall allow States, territories of the United States, and Indian Tribes to implement reasonable guidelines and restrictions to ensure the public health and safety of air passengers and the public.

(b) Amendments to title 49.—Title 49 of the United States Code is amended—

(1) in section 40103—

(A) in subsection (a)(2) by striking “A citizen” and inserting “Except as provided in subsection (f), a citizen”; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(f) Public health emergency exception.—During a public health emergency, the Administrator shall allow States, territories of the United States, and Indian Tribes to implement and enforce reasonable restrictions on air passengers at the point of origin of a direct flight to such State, territory, or Indian Tribe jurisdiction in accordance with requirements and restrictions determined by the State, territory, or Indian Tribe at the point of destination which may include, a temperature or other rapid check for any communicable disease which is the subject of the public health emergency, and which requirements and restrictions may include denial of boarding if such intended passenger is indicated for such disease. Such reasonable restrictions shall be implemented at the expense of the air carrier as determined necessary by a State, territory, or Indian Tribe.

“(g) Definitions.—For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

“(1) PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.—The term ‘public health emergency’ means a declaration under section 319(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d(a)) related to a communicable disease.

“(2) REASONABLE RESTRICTION.—The term ‘reasonable restriction’ means any good faith restriction or condition imposed or implemented on intended passengers prior to boarding a plane by a State, territory of the United States, or Indian Tribe to prevent the spread of a communicable disease during a public health emergency.”; and

(2) in section 47107 by adding at the end the following:

“(x) Waiver of requirements.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, during a public health emergency, the Secretary shall waive any grant assurance that conflicts with a reasonable restriction implemented by a State, territory, or Indian Tribe as set forth in section 40103(f) without an airport owner or operator submitting a request for such a waiver.

“(2) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this subsection, the following definitions apply:

“(A) PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.—The term ‘public health emergency’ means a declaration under section 319(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d(a)) related to a communicable disease.

“(B) REASONABLE RESTRICTION.—The term ‘reasonable restriction’ means any good faith restriction or condition imposed or implemented on intended passengers prior to boarding a plane by a State, territory of the United States, or Indian Tribe to prevent the spread of a communicable disease during a public health emergency.”.


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