H. Rept. 113-466 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
May 30, 2014, As Reported by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

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House Report 113-466 - PROHIBITING IN-FLIGHT VOICE COMMUNICATIONS ON MOBILE WIRELESS DEVICES ACT OF 2013




[House Report 113-466]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-466

======================================================================



 
 PROHIBITING IN-FLIGHT VOICE COMMUNICATIONS ON MOBILE WIRELESS DEVICES 
                              ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

  May 30, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3676]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 3676) to establish a prohibition on 
certain cell phone voice communications during passenger 
flights, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that 
the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Legislative History and Consideration............................     2
Committee Votes..................................................     2
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory of Earmarks.............................................     4
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rulemakings...............................     5
Federal Mandate Statement........................................     5
Preemption Clarification.........................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     5
Applicability of Legislative Branch..............................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis of Legislation.......................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, As Reported............     6

                         Purpose of Legislation

    H.R. 3676 ``Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on 
Mobile Wireless Devices Act of 2013,'' directs the Secretary of 
Transportation to issue regulations that prohibit the use of 
cell phones for voice communications during the in-flight 
portion of any scheduled domestic commercial flight. The bill 
provides an exemption for on-duty members of flight and cabin 
crews, as well as federal law enforcement personnel acting in 
an official capacity.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    In December 2013, the Chairman of the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) announced his intention to have 
the FCC vote whether or not to consider a rule change that 
would give airlines the ability to allow passengers to use 
their mobile devices to make voice calls in-flight. On December 
12, 2013, the FCC voted in favor to consider the proposed 
change in FCC rules and on December 13, 2013 it issued a notice 
of proposed rulemaking on this issue. On February 14, 2014, the 
Department of Transportation issued an advanced notice of 
proposed rulemaking to solicit comments from the public on 
banning cell phone communications on aircraft. The FCC is 
responsible for addressing the technical aspect of using cell 
phones to make voice calls in-flight, whereas it is the 
responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and 
the Department of Transportation (DOT) to address any safety 
impacts that may occur from using cell phones to make voice 
calls during flight. Neither the DOT nor the FCC has taken any 
additional further actions regarding this matter.
    According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted 
December 2013, 59 percent of Americans opposed allowing cell 
phone calls during flights, while only 30 percent supported 
allowing them. In addition, a December 2013 Associated Press 
poll found that 78 percent of frequent fliers oppose allowing 
in-flight phone calls. The potential safety concerns from 
allowing voice communications via cell phones on passenger 
aircraft have been raised by a variety of stakeholders, such as 
the DOT and flight attendants.

                                Hearings

    On December 12, 2013 the Subcommittee on Aviation held a 
hearing titled the ``State of American Aviation,'' in which the 
topic of using cell phones for voice communications on 
scheduled domestic flights was discussed. No hearings were 
specifically held on H.R. 3676.

                 Legislative History and Consideration

    On December 9, 2013, Representative Bill Shuster introduced 
H.R. 3676.
    On February 11, 2014, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session and ordered the bill 
reported favorably to the House by voice vote with a quorum 
present.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each committee report to include the 
total number of votes cast for and against on each record vote 
on a motion to report and on any amendment offered to the 
measure or matter, and the names of those members voting for 
and against. There were no record votes taken in connection 
with consideration of H.R. 3676 or ordering the measure 
reported. A motion to order H.R. 3676 reported favorably to the 
House was agreed to by voice vote with a quorum present.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the 
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is 
included in the report.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3676 from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, March 6, 2014.
Hon. Bill Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3676, the 
Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile Wireless 
Devices Act of 2013.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Megan 
Carroll (for federal costs), and Amy Petz (for the private-
sector impact).
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3676--Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile 
        Wireless Devices Act of 2013

    H.R. 3676 would direct the Secretary of Transportation to 
issue regulations that prohibit air passengers from talking on 
cellular phones during domestic flights. The prohibition would 
not apply to members of the flight crew, flight attendants, or 
federal law enforcement agents who are on duty.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3676 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. Based on information 
from the Department of Transportation, we expect that 
promulgating the proposed regulations would cost less than 
$500,000, assuming the availability of appropriated funds. H.R. 
3676 would not affect direct spending or revenues; pay-as-you-
go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 3676 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by prohibiting 
airline passengers from talking on cellular phones during a 
domestic flight. Under current law, airlines may choose to 
allow passengers to make voice calls over an in-flight Internet 
service (for example Skype), but in-flight voice calls on 
cellular phones are prohibited by the Federal Communications 
Commission (FCC). The FCC recently issued a proposed rule that 
would allow airlines to permit passengers to use cellular 
phones during a flight. If the FCC adopts the rule, the bill 
would impose a mandate by prohibiting passengers from engaging 
in all voice calls during a flight; if the FCC does not adopt 
the rule, only the prohibition on voice calls over an in-flight 
Internet service would constitute a mandate. In either case, 
CBO expects that the cost of the mandate would be small and 
fall below the annual threshold established in UMRA for 
private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a notice 
that it is also considering a ban on all in-flight voice calls 
by passengers as an unfair practice to consumers. If DOT, in 
the absence of the bill, determines to ban such calls, the bill 
would impose no private-sector mandates.
    H.R. 3676 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in UMRA and would impose no cost on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Megan Carroll 
(for federal costs) and Amy Petz (for the private-sector 
impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goal and objective of this legislation is to direct 
the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a rulemaking to ban 
the use of cell phones for in-flight voice communications with 
certain exemptions.

                          Advisory of Earmarks

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee is required to include a list 
of congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of 
rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives. No 
provision in the bill includes an earmark, limited tax benefit, 
or limited tariff benefit under clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of 
rule XXI.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to section 3(j) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 3676 establishes 
or reauthorizes a program of the federal government known to be 
duplicative of another federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemakings

    Pursuant to section 3(k) of H. Res. 5, 113th Cong. (2013), 
the Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 3676 directs the 
Secretary of Transportation to complete a rulemaking banning 
the use of in-flight voice communications on cell phones.

                       Federal Mandate Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        Preemption Clarification

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee states that H.R. 3676 does not 
preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 
legislation.

                  Applicability of Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 
104-1).

               Section-by-Section Analysis of Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the short title of the bill is 
the ``Prohibiting In-Flight Voice Communications on Mobile 
Wireless Devices Act of 2013.''

Section 2. Prohibition on certain cell phone voice communications

    Creates a new section 41725, in Title 49 United States Code 
which--
    a. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue 
regulations prohibiting an individual on an aircraft from using 
a cell phone during a domestic scheduled passenger flight, with 
exemptions applying to any member of the flight crew or flight 
attendant on duty on an aircraft, as well as federal law 
enforcement acting in an official capacity.
    b. Defines the terms ``flight'' and ``mobile communications 
devices.''

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 49, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
SUBTITLE VII--AVIATION PROGRAMS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART A--AIR COMMERCE AND SAFETY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBPART II--ECONOMIC REGULATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  CHAPTER 417--OPERATIONS OF CARRIERS


                       SUBCHAPTER I--REQUIREMENTS

Sec.
41701. Classification of air carriers.
     * * * * * * *
41725. Prohibition on certain cell phone voice communications.
     * * * * * * *

SUBCHAPTER I--REQUIREMENTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 41725. Prohibition on certain cell phone voice communications

  (a) Prohibition.--The Secretary of Transportation shall issue 
regulations--
          (1) to prohibit an individual on an aircraft from 
        engaging in voice communications using a mobile 
        communications device during a flight of that aircraft 
        in scheduled passenger interstate or intrastate air 
        transportation; and
          (2) that exempt from the prohibition described in 
        paragraph (1) any--
                  (A) member of the flight crew on duty on an 
                aircraft;
                  (B) flight attendant on duty on an aircraft; 
                and
                  (C) Federal law enforcement officer acting in 
                an official capacity.
  (b) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
          (1) Flight.--The term ``flight'' means, with respect 
        to an aircraft, the period beginning when the aircraft 
        takes off and ending when the aircraft lands.
          (2) Mobile communications device.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``mobile 
                communications device'' means any portable 
                wireless telecommunications equipment utilized 
                for the transmission or reception of voice 
                data.
                  (B) Limitation.--The term ``mobile 
                communications device'' does not include a 
                phone installed on an aircraft.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *