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                                                      Calendar No. 506
115th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {      115-293
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     


        NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 2202








[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]








                 July 10, 2018.--Ordered to be printed
                 
                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
79-010                    WASHINGTON : 2018                 
                 
                 
                 
                 


























                 
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             second session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  TOM UDALL, New Mexico
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MIKE LEE, Utah                       TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia   MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JON TESTER, Montana
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director



























                                                      Calendar No. 506
115th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {      115-293

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



 
        NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD REAUTHORIZATION ACT

                                _______
                                

                 July 10, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2202]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2202) to amend title 49, United 
States Code, to authorize appropriations for the National 
Transportation Safety Board, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 2202 is to do the following: authorize 
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) at sufficient 
funding levels; increase the transparency of the NTSB's safety 
recommendations and Most Wanted List; enhance certain NTSB 
investigation authorities; and improve the NTSB's operations.

                          Background and Needs

    The NTSB is an independent Federal agency that investigates 
and determines the probable cause of all civil aviation 
accidents and certain significant rail, highway, marine, and 
pipeline accidents. The NTSB often issues safety 
recommendations to accompany its investigation reports. The 
NTSB has five Members, each nominated by the President and 
confirmed by the Senate to 5-year terms, and Members may serve 
on the NTSB until reconfirmed or replaced.\1\ The NTSB has a 
Chairman and a Vice Chairman, each with a 2-year term of 
office.\2\ The NTSB has about 420 full-time employees.\3\ 
Congress last reauthorized the NTSB for 2 years, from fiscal 
year (FY) 2006 through FY 2008.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\49 U.S.C. Sec. 1111(b) and (c).
    \2\49 U.S.C. Sec. 1111(d).
    \3\The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), ``Fiscal Year 
2017 Budget Request,'' 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to conducting accident investigations and 
issuing safety recommendations, the NTSB voluntarily publishes 
its ``Most Wanted List,'' which highlights safety improvements 
sought by the NTSB. In recent years, the Most Wanted List has 
been published biennially and has been composed of groups of 
safety recommendations categorized by issue area.\5\ The NTSB 
most recently released its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List, which 
seeks, among other things, to end alcohol and other drug 
impairment in transportation, expand recorder use to enhance 
safety, and improve rail transit safety oversight.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\P.L. 109-443, 120 Stat. 3297.
    \5\NTSB, ``NTSB Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements,'' 
2015, Washington, DC.
    \6\NTSB, ``NTSB Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements,'' 
2017-2018, Washington, DC.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The NTSB's investigations and safety recommendations offer 
continued improvement of transportation safety for the public. 
The NTSB is not a regulatory agency. So while the NTSB's safety 
recommendations, regardless of their inclusion on the Most 
Wanted List, are not binding, it typically aims to address 
safety issues by influencing Congress, other governmental 
agencies, private entities, and the public. The NTSB is 
currently not required to disclose its methodology detailing 
the process and information underlying the selection of each 
recommendation. In some cases, there may be questions about 
whether the NTSB considered external information, such as 
studies and reports detailing safety benefits and other 
effects, in making recommendations. Further, there may not be 
information provided on any alternatives that the NTSB 
considered prior to selecting its final recommendations or any 
examples where the recommended action has been implemented.
    Additionally, under current law, the NTSB may not release 
recordings, or transcripts of certain oral communications, from 
voice or video recorders present during an accident, unless 
such information is released in written form and as part of a 
public hearing or docket. In some cases, the NTSB may not be 
able to provide key visual information relevant to the accident 
findings or safety recommendations. Further, with the 
increasingly voluminous data involved in investigations, the 
NTSB faces intensified questions regarding the sharing of 
confidential information, such as whether other agencies that 
receive information from the NTSB may disclose that 
information. Moreover, NTSB Members currently may only meet 
publicly, limiting their ability to collaborate. Given such 
issues, the Committee has identified a need to enhance certain 
NTSB investigation and operational authorities in order to 
further enable the NTSB to address pressing safety challenges, 
as appropriate.
    Finally, current law requires the NTSB to provide 
assistance to the families of victims involved in aircraft 
accidents resulting in a major loss of life. The Committee has 
identified a need to expand this and other related protections 
to provide greater assistance to victims' families.

                         Summary of Provisions

    If enacted, S. 2202 would do the following:
           Authorize appropriations for the NTSB from 
        FY 2019 through FY 2023.
           Increase transparency by requiring the NTSB 
        to disclose methodology detailing the process and 
        information underlying the selection of safety 
        recommendations. The bill also would require the NTSB 
        to publish a report on the process it uses to 
        prioritize and select safety recommendations included 
        in the Most Wanted List.
           Enhance certain NTSB investigation 
        authorities by including still images among the items 
        the NTSB may disclose under certain circumstances in 
        the course of an investigation, adding to existing law 
        regarding the disclosure of transcripts and written 
        depictions of visual information. To encourage greater 
        cooperation during NTSB investigations without 
        compromising safety, the bill would broaden the 
        definition of confidential information the NTSB must 
        protect from disclosure and prevent Federal agencies 
        from disclosing confidential information they receive 
        from the NTSB.
           Improve the NTSB's operations by providing 
        the NTSB with the ability to hold certain nonpublic 
        meetings with safeguards requiring the public 
        disclosure of the matters discussed. The bill also 
        would include a provision that enhances the services 
        provided by the NTSB to families of passengers involved 
        in aircraft accidents. This provision also was included 
        in 
        S. 1405, the Federal Aviation Administration 
        Reauthorization Act of 2017, which was approved by the 
        Committee on June 29, 2017. Finally, to improve 
        continuity of NTSB leadership, the bill would lengthen 
        the terms of the NTSB Chairman and Vice Chairman to 3 
        years each (from 2 years under existing law).

                          Legislative History

    On June 8, 2017, the Committee held a hearing on the 
nomination of Robert Sumwalt to be a Member of the NTSB. On 
June 29, 2017, the Committee unanimously approved the 
nomination of Mr. Sumwalt to be a Member, and, on August 2, 
2017, the Committee unanimously approved Mr. Sumwalt for the 
position of Chairman of the NTSB. On August 3, 2017, the Senate 
confirmed Mr. Sumwalt to the position of Chairman.
    On October 31, 2017, the Committee held a hearing on the 
nomination of Bruce Landsberg to be a Member of the NTSB. On 
November 8, 2017, the Committee approved, by voice vote, Mr. 
Landsberg to be a Member, with six Committee members (Senators 
Cantwell, Blumenthal, Schatz, Booker, Duckworth, and Hassan) 
requesting to be recorded as ``no'' votes on his nomination.
    On May 16, 2018, the Committee held a hearing on the 
nomination of Jennifer Homendy to be a Member of the NTSB. On 
May 22, 2018, the Committee approved, by voice vote, Ms. 
Homendy to be a Member.
    As of July 9, 2018, the nominations of Mr. Landsberg and 
Ms. Homendy were still pending on the Senate floor. At the 
nomination hearings, issues facing the NTSB were discussed.
    S. 2202 was introduced on December 6, 2017, by Mr. Thune 
(for himself and Senators Blunt, Booker, Fischer, and Nelson) 
and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate. Senator Cantwell also cosponsored 
this bill. On December 13, 2017, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 2202 reported 
favorably with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute).

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 2202--National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act

    S. 2202 would authorize appropriations totaling $452 
million over the 2019-2022 period (and $115 million in 2023) 
for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). (By 
comparison, the Congress provided $106 million for the NTSB in 
2017.) That agency is responsible for investigating significant 
accidents that occur in civil aviation and other modes of 
surface, rail, and waterborne transportation and for 
recommending safety measures for preventing future accidents.
    As shown in the following table, and based on historical 
spending patterns, CBO estimates that implementing the bill 
would cost $427 million over the 2019-2022 period and an 
additional $138 million after 2022, assuming appropriation of 
the authorized amounts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2018     2019     2020     2021     2022   2018-2022
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................        0      111      112      113      114       452
Estimated Outlays.......................................        0       94      106      113      114       427
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Numbers may not add up to totals because of rounding; the bill also would authorize appropriations of $115
  million in 2023 for the National Transportation Safety Board.

    Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2202 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 2022 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    The bill would impose a private-sector mandate by requiring 
air carriers to provide notification and support services to 
the families of people killed in air accidents. Current law 
requires air carriers to provide services when there is a major 
loss of life. According to the NTSB, most air carriers already 
provide such services in the event of non-major accidents. 
Therefore, CBO estimates that the incremental cost of the 
mandate would be minimal and would fall well below the 
threshold for private-sector mandates established in UMRA ($156 
million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Megan Carroll 
(for federal costs) and Jon Sperl (for mandates). The estimate 
was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 2202, as reported, would not create any new programs or 
impose any new regulatory requirements and therefore would not 
subject any individuals or businesses to new regulations.

                            economic impact

    S. 2202, as reported, is not expected to have a negative 
impact on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    S. 2202, as reported, is not expected to have an adverse 
impact on the personal privacy of individuals. The bill would 
allow the NTSB to release certain still images obtained from 
video recordings, but the bill would require the NTSB to take 
action as appropriate to protect from public disclosure any 
information that readily identifies an individual, including a 
decedent, in such still images.

                               paperwork

    S. 2202, as reported, would only incrementally affect 
paperwork requirements for the NTSB. Section 7, as described 
further below, would require the NTSB to submit a report to 
Congress explaining its methodology used to prioritize and 
select recommendations included on the Most Wanted List. 
Additionally, section 8 would require the NTSB to include in 
investigative reports in which the NTSB issues a recommendation 
a methodology section detailing the process and information 
underlying the selection of each recommendation. The section 
would also expand reports that the NTSB is already producing.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title; table of contents; references.

    This section would provide that the bill may be cited as 
the ``National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization 
Act.'' This section also would provide a table of contents for 
the bill.

Section 2. Definitions.

    This section would define the terms ``Board,'' 
``Chairman,'' and ``Most Wanted List.''

Section 3. Authorization of appropriations.

    This section would authorize appropriations for the NTSB 
for FYs 2019 through 2023. The NTSB was funded for FY 2017 at 
$106 million and the Transportation, Housing, & Urban 
Development Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the 
Senate approved $110.4 million for FY 2018.\7\ This bill would 
authorize $111.4 million in FY 2019, with $1 million increases 
in authorized funding for each FY until FY 2023. The levels 
authorize sufficient funding to carry out successfully the 
requirements of this bill.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ P.L. 115-31, 131 Stat. 135.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 4. Still images.

    This section would add authority for the NTSB to include 
any still image obtained from a video recorder as information 
that may be disclosed by the NTSB through a public hearing or 
docket if it determines that such information is relevant to 
the accident, except that the NTSB must take action as 
appropriate to protect from public disclosure any information 
that readily identifies an individual, including a decedent, 
and that any disclosure must comply with generally applicable 
restrictions on sharing confidential information.
    The term ``readily identifies'' is included to ensure that 
the NTSB would conceal the identity of any individual shown in 
a still image that it discloses by, for example, blurring the 
individual's facial or other identifiable features. Like the 
NTSB's current authority for transcripts and written depictions 
of visual information, the bill would allow the NTSB to release 
still images from both cockpit and surface vehicle recordings. 
This section of the bill also would make other conforming and 
technical changes for consistency in discovery proceedings.

Section 5. Information sharing.

    This section would expand the protection of confidential 
information beyond trade secrets to include all of the 
confidential information in section 1905 of title 18, United 
States Code, thereby providing protection for, among other 
things, processes, operations, style of work, and confidential 
statistical data. This section also would further limit the 
sharing of confidential information, including by prohibiting 
other departments, agencies, or instrumentalities of the United 
States Government from publicly disclosing confidential 
information provided to them by the NTSB. The intent is that 
these provisions would encourage the sharing of information 
with the NTSB by expanding the protection of that information.
    The section would allow the NTSB, under certain 
circumstances, to release confidential information to the 
public only when necessary to protect health and safety. In 
this instance, ``when necessary'' would mean only if there is 
no other way to explain a finding, cause or probable cause, or 
safety recommendation related to an accident under NTSB 
investigation without the disclosure of confidential 
information.\8\ If there is a circumstance in which the NTSB 
cannot reasonably fulfill its duties without disclosing 
confidential information, the NTSB should take such steps to 
mitigate the effects of its disclosure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Section 1114(b)(1)(D) of title 49, United States Code, requires 
the NTSB to give notice to any interested person to whom the 
information is related and an opportunity for that person to comment in 
writing, or orally in closed session, on the proposed disclosure, if 
the delay resulting from notice and opportunity for comment would not 
be detrimental to health and safety. This bill would not affect this 
requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This section would not allow for the release of information 
protected from disclosure by another law of the United States 
and is not intended to expand, in any way, the authority of the 
NTSB or any other department, agency, or instrumentality of the 
United States Government to share or disclose confidential 
information.

Section 6. Electronic records.

    This section would clarify that an electronic record is 
included in the definition of a record that the NTSB may 
inspect during reasonable hours.

Section 7. Report on Most Wanted List methodology.

    This section would require the NTSB to submit a report to 
Congress explaining its methodology used to prioritize and 
select recommendations included on the Most Wanted List. 
Specifically, the NTSB would be required to include in its 
report a detailed description of the following: how the NTSB 
accounts for risk to safety in each of its recommendations; the 
extent to which the NTSB considers past investigative findings, 
safety recommendations, or other safety actions; and any 
processes used to engage in internal or external coordination 
and consultation.
    In discussing how the NTSB accounts for risk to safety, the 
report would be required to address in detail four key areas. 
First, the report would be required to specifically describe 
any types of data or information, such as any risk assessments, 
case studies, academic publications, or other relevant 
evidence, that the NTSB considers in quantifying the amount and 
probability of risk to safety posed by a particular issue or 
action. Second, the report would be required to detail the 
extent to which, in prioritizing and selecting safety 
recommendations, the NTSB considers the reduction of risk to 
safety, including any potential quantification of such risk, 
estimated over a period of time, by implementing a particular 
safety recommendation. Third, the report would detail the 
extent to which the NTSB considers the practicality and 
feasibility of implementing any given safety recommendation. 
Practicality and feasibility considerations should include, 
among other things, whether a safety recommendation is 
technologically feasible or overly burdensome. Fourth, the 
report would detail the extent to which the NTSB considers any 
alternative approaches prior to prioritizing and selecting its 
final safety recommendations.
    Finally, this section also would require the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) to examine and evaluate the above-
described report. The GAO's review would evaluate the extent to 
which the NTSB effectively utilized best practices and rigorous 
analysis, accounted for practicality and feasibility 
considerations, considered alternative risk reduction actions, 
and coordinated and consulted in prioritizing and selecting 
safety recommendation for its Most Wanted List.
    This section would not require the NTSB to publish a Most 
Wanted List. However, it would apply to the next Most Wanted 
List that the NTSB chooses to publish after the date of 
enactment of this bill.

Section 8. Methodology sections.

    This section would require the NTSB to include in 
investigative reports, in which the NTSB issues a 
recommendation, a methodology section detailing the process and 
information underlying the selection of each recommendation.
    First, for each safety recommendation, this section would 
require the NTSB to summarize briefly information collected 
from the relevant accident investigation. This section also 
would require the NTSB to describe its use of external 
information, including studies, reports, and experts, other 
than the findings of an accident investigation, to inform or 
support the recommendation, including a brief summary of 
specific safety benefits and other effects identified by each 
study, report, or expert, such as all other identified effects 
included in risk assessments, case studies, academic 
publications, or other evidence relevant to each 
recommendation. Third, the section would require a brief 
summary of any alternative actions considered. Finally, the 
section would require the NTSB to enumerate any examples of 
where actions consistent with the recommendation have already 
been implemented.
    This section is intended to ensure the transparent sharing 
of information used to support the NTSB's safety 
recommendations. This section would not require the NTSB to 
perform a level of analysis akin to the requirements under 
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4, covering 
regulatory analyses by many Federal regulatory agencies. 
However, this section would ensure that the NTSB describes any 
external information (including such analyses already 
available), alternatives, and examples the agency considered. 
Providing such information in a consolidated and accessible 
manner is important given the aim of the NTSB's safety 
recommendations to influence regulatory agencies, policymakers, 
and private entities.
    The requirement for a methodology section would not apply 
if the recommendation is only for a person to disseminate 
information on an existing agency best practices document or on 
an existing regulatory requirement. Further, the NTSB should 
not delay the publication of the findings, cause, or probable 
cause of an NTSB investigation or the issuance of an urgent 
recommendation that the NTSB has determined must be issued to 
avoid immediate loss, death, or injury.

Section 9. Multi-modal accident database management system.

    This section would require the NTSB, not later than 1 year 
after the date of enactment of this bill, to establish and 
maintain a secure multi-modal accident database system for NTSB 
investigators. The purpose of this database would be to improve 
the NTSB's quality of accident data made available to the 
public and the selection of future significant accidents for 
investigation. A similar database already exists for aviation 
accidents.

Section 10. Addressing the needs of families of individuals involved in 
        accidents.

    This section would expand requirements for the NTSB to 
provide services to families of passengers involved in aircraft 
accidents that the NTSB investigates. Currently, the 
requirement applies to such accidents with a major loss of 
life; this section would apply the existing requirements to 
such accidents with any loss of life. Substantively similar 
versions of these provisions were included in the Committee-
passed version of the Federal Aviation Administration 
Reauthorization Act of 2017.

Section 11. Government Accountability Office report on investigation 
        launch decision-making processes.

    This section would require the GAO to evaluate and audit, 
as determined necessary by the Comptroller General or the 
appropriate congressional committees, the process and 
procedures the NTSB uses to select accidents to investigate. 
This section would add to other existing requirements for the 
GAO to evaluate and audit the NTSB to promote economy, 
efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of the 
programs, operations, and activities of the NTSB.

Section 12. Periodic review of safety recommendations.

    This section would require the NTSB to conduct a review, 
every 5 years, of its previously issued recommendations. This 
section would require the NTSB, prior to conducting this 
review, to solicit public suggestions every 5 years as to 
whether any of the NTSB's recommendations should be updated, 
closed, or reissued. The NTSB would then be required to review 
each suggestion and the accompanying justification for the 
suggestion from the public and assess whether the 
recommendation is outmoded, unclear, or unnecessary; is 
ineffective or insufficient; or should be reissued. The section 
would require the NTSB to make a determination as to the 
appropriate action following each assessment. The NTSB would be 
required to submit a report to Congress after each review. This 
process is intended to institutionalize continuous improvement 
of the NTSB's recommendations, including by factoring in 
technological advances, changed circumstances, and other 
information of which the NTSB may not have been aware at the 
time it issued a recommendation.

Section 13. General organization.

    This section also would allow for limited instances in 
which a majority of NTSB Members can communicate without 
requiring a full public meeting. During such communications, no 
vote may be taken, the NTSB General Counsel must be present, 
and only NTSB Members or staff may attend. In addition, the 
NTSB would be required to disclose meeting topics and 
participants within 2 business days of the meeting. This 
section also would require the NTSB to provide a summary with 
as much general information as possible on any sensitive matter 
withheld from the public based on current law. The Surface 
Transportation Board has similar authority regarding nonpublic 
collaborative discussions.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\P.L. 114-110, 129 Stat. 2228.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This section also would lengthen the terms of the Chairman 
and Vice Chairman from 2 years to 3 years in order to create 
more continuity in NTSB leadership. This section would 
eliminate the requirement that the NTSB maintain an employee in 
every State located more than 1,000 miles from a regional 
office. Finally, this section would allow the NTSB to acquire 
unmanned aircraft systems for the purpose of aiding in NTSB 
investigations. This allowance is intended to reduce costs for 
the NTSB, which is currently leasing such a system.

Section 14. Technical and conforming amendments.

    This section would clarify the term ``public aircraft'' 
because the current definition references the wrong paragraph 
of existing law. This section would make other technical 
corrections.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                        TITLE 49. TRANSPORTATION


                 SUBTITLE II. OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

            CHAPTER 11. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD

             SUBCHAPTER II. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE

Sec. 1111. General organization

  (a) Organization.--The National Transportation Safety Board 
is an independent establishment of the United States 
Government.
  (b) Appointment of Members.--The Board is composed of 5 
members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and 
consent of the Senate. Not more than 3 members may be appointed 
from the same political party. At least 3 members shall be 
appointed on the basis of technical qualification, professional 
standing, and demonstrated knowledge in accident 
reconstruction, safety engineering, human factors, 
transportation safety, or transportation regulation.
  (c) Terms of Office and Removal.--The term of office of each 
member is 5 years. An individual appointed to fill a vacancy 
occurring before the expiration of the term for which the 
predecessor of that individual was appointed, is appointed for 
the remainder of that term. When the term of office of a member 
ends, the member may continue to serve until a successor is 
appointed and qualified. The President may remove a member for 
inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.
  (d) Chairman and Vice Chairman.--The President shall 
designate, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a 
Chairman of the Board. The President also shall designate a 
Vice Chairman of the Board. The terms of office of both the 
Chairman and Vice Chairman are [2 years] 3 years. When the 
Chairman is absent or unable to serve or when the position of 
Chairman is vacant, the Vice Chairman acts as Chairman.
  (e) * * *
  (k) Open Meetings.--
          (1) In general.--The Board shall be deemed to be an 
        agency for purposes of section 552b of title 5.
          (2) Nonpublic collaborative discussions.--
                  (A) In general.--Notwithstanding section 552b 
                of title 5, a majority of the members may hold 
                a meeting that is not open to public 
                observation to discuss official agency business 
                if--
                          (i) no formal or informal vote or 
                        other official agency action is taken 
                        at the meeting;
                          (ii) each individual present at the 
                        meeting is a member or an employee of 
                        the Board; and
                          (iii) the General Counsel of the 
                        Board is present at the meeting.
                  (B) Disclosure of nonpublic collaborative 
                discussions.--Except as provided under 
                subparagraph (C), not later than 2 business 
                days after the conclusion of a meeting under 
                subparagraph (A), the Board shall make 
                available to the public, in a place easily 
                accessible to the public--
                          (i) a list of the individuals present 
                        at the meeting; and
                          (ii) a summary of the matters 
                        discussed at the meeting, except for 
                        any matter the Board properly 
                        determines may be withheld from the 
                        public under section 552b(c) of title 
                        5.
                  (C) Summary.--If the Board properly 
                determines a matter may be withheld from the 
                public under section 552b(c) of title 5, the 
                Board shall provide a summary with as much 
                general information as possible on each matter 
                withheld from the public.
                  (D) Preservation of open meetings 
                requirements for agency action.--Nothing in 
                this paragraph may be construed to limit the 
                applicability of section 552b of title 5 with 
                respect to a meeting of the members other than 
                that described in this paragraph.
                  (E) Statutory construction.--Nothing in this 
                paragraph may be construed--
                          (i) to limit the applicability of 
                        section 552b of title 5 with respect to 
                        any information which is proposed to be 
                        withheld from the public under 
                        subparagraph (B)(ii); or
                          (ii) to authorize the Board to 
                        withhold from any individual any record 
                        that is accessible to that individual 
                        under section 552a of title 5.

Sec. 1113. Administrative

  (a) General Authority.--
          (1) The National Transportation Safety Board, and 
        when authorized by it, a member of the Board, an 
        administrative law judge employed by or assigned to the 
        Board, or an officer or employee designated by the 
        Chairman of the Board, may conduct hearings to carry 
        out this chapter, administer oaths, and require, by 
        subpoena or otherwise, necessary witnesses and 
        evidence.
          (2) A witness or evidence in a hearing under 
        paragraph (1) of this subsection may be summoned or 
        required to be produced from any place in the United 
        States to the designated place of the hearing. A 
        witness summoned under this subsection is entitled to 
        the same fee and mileage the witness would have been 
        paid in a court of the United States.
          (3) A subpoena shall be issued under the signature of 
        the Chairman or the Chairman's delegate but may be 
        served by any person designated by the Chairman.
          (4) If a person disobeys a subpoena, order, or 
        inspection notice of the Board, the Board may bring a 
        civil action in a district court of the United States 
        to enforce the subpoena, order, or notice. An action 
        under this paragraph may be brought in the judicial 
        district in which the person against whom the action is 
        brought resides, is found, or does business. The court 
        may punish a failure to obey an order of the court to 
        comply with the subpoena, order, or notice as a 
        contempt of court.
  (b) Additional Powers.--
          (1) The Board may--
                  (A) procure the temporary or intermittent 
                services of experts or consultants under 
                section 3109 of title 5;
                  (B) make agreements and other transactions 
                necessary to carry out this chapter without 
                regard to section 6101(b) to (d) of title 41;
                  (C) use, when appropriate, available 
                services, equipment, personnel, and facilities 
                of a department, agency, or instrumentality of 
                the United States Government on a reimbursable 
                or other basis;
                  (D) confer with employees and use services, 
                records, and facilities of State and local 
                governmental authorities;
                  (E) appoint advisory committees composed of 
                qualified private citizens and officials of the 
                Government and State and local governments as 
                appropriate;
                  (F) accept voluntary and uncompensated 
                services notwithstanding another law;
                  (G) accept gifts of money and other property;
                  (H) make contracts with nonprofit entities to 
                carry out studies related to duties and powers 
                of the Board; [and]
                  (I) negotiate and enter into agreements with 
                individuals and private entities and 
                departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of 
                the Government, State and local governments, 
                and governments of foreign countries for the 
                provision of facilities, accident-related and 
                technical services or training in accident 
                investigation theory and techniques, and 
                require that such entities provide appropriate 
                consideration for the reasonable costs of any 
                facilities, goods, services, or training 
                provided by the Board[.]; and
                  (J) acquire, for investigation purposes under 
                this chapter, small unmanned aircraft systems 
                that weigh less than 55 pounds, notwithstanding 
                any other law, including regulations and 
                policies.
          (2) The Board shall deposit in the Treasury amounts 
        received under paragraph (1)(I) of this subsection to 
        be credited as offsetting collections to the 
        appropriation of the Board. The Board shall maintain an 
        annual record of collections received under paragraph 
        (1)(I) of this subsection.
  (c) * * *
  [(h) Investigative Officers.--The Board shall maintain at 
least 1 full-time employee in each State located more than 
1,000 miles from the nearest Board regional office to provide 
initial investigative response to accidents the Board is 
empowered to investigate under this chapter that occur in that 
State.]

Sec. 1114. Disclosure, availability, and use of information

  (a) General.--
          (1) Except as provided in subsections (b), (c), (d), 
        and (f) of this section, a copy of a record, 
        information, or investigation submitted or received by 
        the National Transportation Safety Board, or a member 
        or employee of the Board, shall be made available to 
        the public on identifiable request and at reasonable 
        cost. This subsection does not require the release of 
        information described by section 552(b) of title 5 or 
        protected from disclosure by another law of the United 
        States.
          (2) The Board shall deposit in the Treasury amounts 
        received under paragraph (1) to be credited to the 
        appropriation of the Board as offsetting collections.
  (b) [Trade Secrets] Certain Confidential Information.--
          (1) In general.--The Board may disclose [information 
        related to a trade secret referred to in section 1905 
        of title 18] information, including trade secrets, as 
        described in section 1905 of title 18 only--
                  (A) to another department, agency, or 
                instrumentality of the United States Government 
                when requested for official use;
                  (B) to a committee of Congress having 
                jurisdiction over the subject matter to which 
                the information is related, when requested by 
                that committee;
                  (C) in a judicial proceeding under a court 
                order that preserves the confidentiality of the 
                information without impairing the proceeding; 
                and
                  (D) [to the public to protect health and 
                safety] subject to paragraph (4), to the public 
                when the Board considers it necessary to 
                protect health and safety after giving notice 
                to any interested person to whom the 
                information is related and an opportunity for 
                that person to comment in writing, or orally in 
                closed session, on the proposed disclosure, if 
                the delay resulting from notice and opportunity 
                for comment would not be detrimental to health 
                and safety.
          (2) Preservation of confidentiality.--
        [Information]Information disclosed under paragraph (1) 
        of this subsection may be disclosed only in a way 
        designed to preserve its confidentiality.
          (3) Protection of voluntary submission of 
        information.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
        law, neither the Board, nor any agency receiving 
        information from the Board, shall disclose voluntarily 
        provided safety-related information if that information 
        is not related to the exercise of the Board's accident 
        or incident investigation authority under this chapter 
        and if the Board finds that the disclosure of the 
        information would inhibit the voluntary provision of 
        that type of information.
          (4) Limitation.--A disclosure under paragraph (1)(D) 
        may only be considered necessary to protect health and 
        safety if the Board is required under this chapter to 
        explain a finding, a cause or probable cause, or a 
        safety recommendation related to an accident or 
        incident investigated by the Board and cannot 
        reasonably fulfill its duties without such disclosure.
  (c) Cockpit Recordings and Transcripts.--
          (1) Confidentiality of recordings.--[The Board] 
        Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Board may not 
        disclose publicly any part of a cockpit voice or video 
        recorder recording or transcript of oral communications 
        by and between flight crew members and ground stations 
        related to an accident or incident investigated by the 
        Board. However, the Board shall make public any part of 
        a transcript or any written depiction of visual 
        information the Board decides is relevant to the 
        accident or incident--
                  (A) if the Board holds a public hearing on 
                the accident or incident, at the time of the 
                hearing; or
                  (B) if the Board does not hold a public 
                hearing, at the time a majority of the other 
                factual reports on the accident or incident are 
                placed in the public docket.
          (2) Exception.--Subject to subsections (b) and (g), 
        the Board shall make public any part of a transcript, 
        any written depiction of visual information obtained 
        from a video recorder, or any still image obtained from 
        a video recorder the Board decides is relevant to the 
        accident or incident--
                  (A) if the Board holds a public hearing on 
                the accident or incident, at the time of the 
                hearing; or
                  (B) if the Board does not hold a public 
                hearing, at the time a majority of the other 
                factual reports on the accident or incident are 
                placed in the public docket.
          [(2)](3) References to information in making safety 
        recommendations.--This subsection does not prevent the 
        Board from referring at any time to cockpit voice or 
        video recorder information in making safety 
        recommendations.
  (d) Surface Vehicle Recordings and Transcripts.--
          (1) Confidentiality of recordings.--[The Board] 
        Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Board may not 
        disclose publicly any part of a surface vehicle voice 
        or video recorder recording or transcript of oral 
        communications by or among drivers, train employees, or 
        other operating employees responsible for the movement 
        and direction of the vehicle or vessel, or between such 
        operating employees and company communication centers, 
        related to an accident investigated by the Board. 
        [However, the Board shall make public any part of a 
        transcript or any written depiction of visual 
        information that the Board decides is relevant to the 
        accident--]
                  [(A) if the Board holds a public hearing on 
                the accident, at the time of the hearing; or
                  [(B) if the Board does not hold a public 
                hearing, at the time a majority of the other 
                factual reports on the accident are placed in 
                the public docket.]
          (2) Exception.--Subject to subsections (b) and (g), 
        the Board shall make public any part of a transcript, 
        any written depiction of visual information obtained 
        from a video recorder, or any still image obtained from 
        a video recorder the Board decides is relevant to the 
        accident--
                  (A) if the Board holds a public hearing on 
                the accident, at the time of the hearing; or
                  (B) if the Board does not hold a public 
                hearing, at the time a majority of the other 
                factual reports on the accident are placed in 
                the public docket.
          [(2)](3) References to information in making safety 
        recommendations.--This subsection does not prevent the 
        Board from referring at any time to voice or video 
        recorder information in making safety recommendations.
  (e) Drug Tests.--
          (1) Notwithstanding section 503(e) of the 
        Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1987 (Public Law 100-
        71, 101 Stat. 471), the Secretary of Transportation 
        shall provide the following information to the Board 
        when requested in writing by the Board:
                  (A) any report of a confirmed positive 
                toxicological test, verified as positive by a 
                medical review officer, conducted on an officer 
                or employee of the Department of Transportation 
                under post-accident, unsafe practice, or 
                reasonable suspicion toxicological testing 
                requirements of the Department, when the 
                officer or employee is reasonably associated 
                with the circumstances of an accident or 
                incident under the investigative jurisdiction 
                of the Board.
                  (B) any laboratory record documenting that 
                the test is confirmed positive.
          (2) Except as provided by paragraph (3) of this 
        subsection, the Board shall maintain the 
        confidentiality of, and exempt from disclosure under 
        section 552(b)(3) of title 5--(A) a laboratory record 
        provided the Board under paragraph (1) of this 
        subsection that reveals medical use of a drug allowed 
        under applicable regulations; and
                  (B) medical information provided by the 
                tested officer or employee related to the test 
                or a review of the test.
          (3) The Board may use a laboratory record made 
        available under paragraph (1) of this subsection to 
        develop an evidentiary record in an investigation of an 
        accident or incident if--
                  (A) the fitness of the tested officer or 
                employee is at issue in the investigation; and
                  (B) the use of that record is necessary to 
                develop the evidentiary record.
  (f) Foreign Investigations.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
        of law, neither the Board, nor any agency receiving 
        information from the Board, shall disclose records or 
        information relating to its participation in foreign 
        aircraft accident investigations; except that--
                  (A) the Board shall release records 
                pertaining to such an investigation when the 
                country conducting the investigation issues its 
                final report or 2 years following the date of 
                the accident, whichever occurs first; and
                  (B) the Board may disclose records and 
                information when authorized to do so by the 
                country conducting the investigation.
          (2) Safety recommendations.--Nothing in this 
        subsection shall restrict the Board at any time from 
        referring to foreign accident investigation information 
        in making safety recommendations.
  (g) Privacy Protections.--Before making public any still 
image obtained from a video recorder under subsection (c)(2) or 
subsection (d)(2), the Board shall take such action as 
appropriate to protect from public disclosure any information 
that readily identifies an individual, including a decedent.
  (h) Limitation.--A department, agency, or instrumentality of 
the United States Government that receives information from the 
Board under this section may not publicly disclose any part of 
that information if the information is exempted or prohibited 
from disclosure under this chapter or any other law of the 
United States.

Sec. 1117. [Annual report] Reports

  (a) In General.--The National Transportation Safety Board 
shall submit a report to Congress on July 1 of each year. The 
report shall include--
          (1) a statistical and analytical summary of the 
        transportation accident investigations conducted and 
        reviewed by the Board during the prior calendar year;
          (2) a survey and summary of the recommendations made 
        by the Board to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of 
        those accidents together with the observed response to 
        each recommendation;
          (3) a detailed appraisal of the accident 
        investigation and accident prevention activities of 
        other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of 
        the United States Government and State and local 
        governmental authorities having responsibility for 
        those activities under a law of the United States or a 
        State;
          (4) a description of the activities and operations of 
        the National Transportation Safety Board Academy during 
        the prior calendar year;
          (5) a list of accidents, during the prior calendar 
        year, that the Board was required to investigate under 
        section 1131 but did not investigate and an explanation 
        of why they were not investigated; and
          (6) a list of ongoing investigations that have 
        exceeded the expected time allotted for completion by 
        Board order and an explanation for the additional time 
        required to complete each such investigation.
  (b) Retrospective Review to Ensure Updated and Effective 
Safety Recommendations.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than June 1, 2019, and in 
        response to public comments received under paragraph 
        (2), the Chairman shall complete a comprehensive review 
        of recommendations issued by the Board that are 
        classified as ``open'' by the Board.
          (2) Public comments.--
                  (A) In general.--Before conducting a review 
                under paragraph (1), and at least every 5 years 
                thereafter, the Chairman shall publish in the 
                Federal Register a request for public comment 
                on recommendations to be updated, closed, or 
                reissued.
                  (B) Recommendations.--A request for public 
                comment under subparagraph (A) shall solicit--
                          (i) recommendations to be updated, 
                        closed, or reissued, including a 
                        reference to the applicable 
                        recommendation number;
                          (ii) justifications, including any 
                        supporting information, for updating, 
                        closing, or reissuing a recommendation; 
                        and
                          (iii) if applicable, specific 
                        suggestions for updating a 
                        recommendation.
                  (C) Public comment period.--The Chairman 
                shall provide 90 days for public comment under 
                this subsection.
          (3) Contents.--A review under paragraph (1) shall 
        include for each recommendation under paragraph (2)--
                  (A) consideration of each justification under 
                paragraph (2)(B)(ii) and, if applicable, each 
                suggestion under clause (iii) of that 
                paragraph;
                  (B) an assessment of whether the 
                recommendation--
                          (i) is outmoded, unclear, or 
                        unnecessary in light of--
                                  (I) changed circumstances;
                                  (II) more recently issued 
                                recommendations; or
                                  (III) the availability of new 
                                technologies;
                          (ii) is ineffective or insufficient 
                        for achieving its objective; or
                          (iii) should be reissued;
                  (C) a determination, based on the assessment 
                under subparagraph (B), whether it is 
                appropriate to update, close, or reissue the 
                recommendation; and
                  (D) a justification for each determination 
                under subparagraph (C).
          (4) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date a 
        review under paragraph (1) is complete, the Chairman 
        shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on 
        Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
        Representatives a report that includes--
                  (A) the findings of the review under 
                paragraph (1);
                  (B) each determination under paragraph (3)(C) 
                and justification under paragraph (3)(D); and
                  (C) if applicable, a schedule for updating, 
                closing, or reissuing a recommendation.

Sec. 1118. Authorization of appropriations

  [(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated for 
the purposes of this chapter $57,000,000 for fiscal year 2000, 
$65,000,000 for fiscal year 2001, $72,000,000 for fiscal year 
2002, $73,325,000 for fiscal year 2003, $78,757,000 for fiscal 
year 2004, $83,011,000 for fiscal year 2005, $87,539,000 for 
fiscal year 2006, $81,594,000 for fiscal year 2007, and 
$92,625,000 for fiscal year 2008. Such sums shall remain 
available until expended.]
  (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated for 
the purposes of this chapter $111,400,000 for fiscal year 2019, 
$112,400,000 for fiscal year 2020, $113,400,000 for fiscal year 
2021, $114,400,000 for fiscal year 2022, and $115,400,000 for 
fiscal year 2023. Such sums shall remain available until 
expended.
  (b) Emergency Fund.--The Board has an emergency fund of 
$2,000,000 available for necessary expenses of the Board, not 
otherwise provided for, for accident investigations. In 
addition, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as 
may be necessary to increase the fund to, and maintain the fund 
at, a level not to exceed $4,000,000.
  (c) Fees, Refunds, and Reimbursements.--
          (1) In general.--The Board may impose and collect 
        such fees, refunds, and reimbursements as it determines 
        to be appropriate for services provided by or through 
        the Board.
          (2) Receipts credited as offsetting collections.--
        Notwithstanding section 3302 of title 31, any fee, 
        refund, or reimbursement collected under this 
        subsection--
                  (A) shall be credited as offsetting 
                collections to the account that finances the 
                activities and services for which the fee is 
                imposed or with which the refund or 
                reimbursement is associated;
                  (B) shall be available for expenditure only 
                to pay the costs of activities and services for 
                which the fee is imposed or with which the 
                refund or reimbursement is associated; and
                  (C) shall remain available until expended.
          (3) Refunds.--The Board may refund any fee paid by 
        mistake or any amount paid in excess of that required.

                       SUBCHAPTER III. AUTHORITY

Sec. 1131. General authority

  (a) General.--
          (1) The National Transportation Safety Board shall 
        investigate or have investigated (in detail the Board 
        prescribes) and establish the facts, circumstances, and 
        cause or probable cause of--
                  (A) an aircraft accident the Board has 
                authority to investigate under section 1132 of 
                this title or an aircraft accident involving [a 
                public aircraft as defined by section 
                40102(a)(37) of this title] a public aircraft 
                as defined by section 40102(a) of this title 
                other than an aircraft operated by the Armed 
                Forces or by an intelligence agency of the 
                United States;
                  (B) a highway accident, including a railroad 
                grade crossing accident, the Board selects in 
                cooperation with a State;
                  (C) a railroad accident in which there is a 
                fatality or substantial property damage, or 
                that involves a passenger train;
                  (D) a pipeline accident in which there is a 
                fatality, substantial property damage, or 
                significant injury to the environment;
                  (E) a major marine casualty (except a 
                casualty involving only public vessels) 
                occurring on or under the navigable waters, 
                internal waters, or the territorial sea of the 
                United States as described in Presidential 
                Proclamation No. 5928 of December 27, 1988, or 
                involving a vessel of the United States (as 
                defined in section 2101(46) of title 46), under 
                regulations prescribed jointly by the Board and 
                the head of the department in which the Coast 
                Guard is operating; and
                  (F) any other accident related to the 
                transportation of individuals or property when 
                the Board decides--
                          (i) the accident is catastrophic;
                          (ii) the accident involves problems 
                        of a recurring character; or
                          (iii) the investigation of the 
                        accident would carry out this chapter.
          (2)(A) Subject to the requirements of this paragraph, 
        an investigation by the Board under paragraph (1)(A)-
        (D) or (F) of this subsection has priority over any 
        investigation by another department, agency, or 
        instrumentality of the United States Government. The 
        Board shall provide for appropriate participation by 
        other departments, agencies, or instrumentalities in 
        the investigation. However, those departments, 
        agencies, or instrumentalities may not participate in 
        the decision of the Board about the probable cause of 
        the accident.
                  (B) If the Attorney General, in consultation 
                with the Chairman of the Board, determines and 
                notifies the Board that circumstances 
                reasonably indicate that the accident may have 
                been caused by an intentional criminal act, the 
                Board shall relinquish investigative priority 
                to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The 
                relinquishment of investigative priority by the 
                Board shall not otherwise affect the authority 
                of the Board to continue its investigation 
                under this section.
                  (C) If a Federal law enforcement agency 
                suspects and notifies the Board that an 
                accident being investigated by the Board under 
                subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph 
                (1) may have been caused by an intentional 
                criminal act, the Board, in consultation with 
                the law enforcement agency, shall take 
                necessary actions to ensure that evidence of 
                the criminal act is preserved.
          (3) This section and sections 1113, 1116(b), 1133, 
        and 1134(a) and (c)-(e) of this title do not affect the 
        authority of another department, agency, or 
        instrumentality of the Government to investigate an 
        accident under applicable law or to obtain information 
        directly from the parties involved in, and witnesses 
        to, the accident. The Board and other departments, 
        agencies, and instrumentalities shall ensure that 
        appropriate information developed about the accident is 
        exchanged in a timely manner.
  (b) * * *

Sec. 1134. Inspections and autopsies

  (a) Entry and Inspection.--An officer or employee of the 
National Transportation Safety Board--
          (1) on display of appropriate credentials and written 
        notice of inspection authority, may enter property 
        where a transportation accident has occurred or 
        wreckage from the accident is located and do anything 
        necessary to conduct an investigation; and
          (2) during reasonable hours, may inspect any record, 
        including an electronic record, process, control, or 
        facility related to an accident investigation under 
        this chapter.
  (b) Inspection, Testing, Preservation, and Moving of Aircraft 
and Parts.--
          (1) In investigating an aircraft accident under this 
        chapter, the Board may inspect and test, to the extent 
        necessary, any civil aircraft, aircraft engine, 
        propeller, appliance, or property on an aircraft 
        involved in an accident in air commerce.
          (2) Any civil aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, 
        appliance, or property on an aircraft involved in an 
        accident in air commerce shall be preserved, and may be 
        moved, only as provided by regulations of the Board.
  (c) Avoiding Unnecessary Interference and Preserving 
Evidence.--In carrying out subsection (a)(1) of this section, 
an officer or employee may examine or test any vehicle, vessel, 
rolling stock, track, or pipeline component. The examination or 
test shall be conducted in a way that--
          (1) does not interfere unnecessarily with 
        transportation services provided by the owner or 
        operator of the vehicle, vessel, rolling stock, track, 
        or pipeline component; and
          (2) to the maximum extent feasible, preserves 
        evidence related to the accident, consistent with the 
        needs of the investigation and with the cooperation of 
        that owner or operator.
  (d) Exclusive Authority of Board.--Only the Board has the 
authority to decide on the way in which testing under this 
section will be conducted, including decisions on the person 
that will conduct the test, the type of test that will be 
conducted, and any individual who will witness the test. Those 
decisions are committed to the discretion of the Board. The 
Board shall make any of those decisions based on the needs of 
the investigation being conducted and, when applicable, 
subsections (a), (c), and (e) of this section.
  (e) Promptness of Tests and Availability of Results.--An 
inspection, examination, or test under subsection (a) or (c) of 
this section shall be started and completed promptly, and the 
results shall be made available.
  (f) Autopsies.--
          (1) The Board may order an autopsy to be performed 
        and have other tests made when necessary to investigate 
        an accident under this chapter. However, local law 
        protecting religious beliefs related to autopsies shall 
        be observed to the extent consistent with the needs of 
        the accident investigation.
          (2) With or without reimbursement, the Board may 
        obtain a copy of an autopsy report performed by a State 
        or local official on an individual who died because of 
        a transportation accident investigated by the Board 
        under this chapter.

Sec. 1136. Assistance to families of passengers involved in aircraft 
                    accidents

  (a) In General.--As soon as practicable after being notified 
of an [aircraft accident within the United States involving an 
air carrier or foreign air carrier and resulting in a major 
loss of life] aircraft accident involving an air carrier or 
foreign air carrier, resulting in any loss of life, and for 
which the National Transportation Safety Board will serve as 
the lead investigative agency, the Chairman of the National 
Transportation Safety Board shall--
          (1) designate and publicize the name and phone number 
        of a director of family support services who shall be 
        an employee of the Board and shall be responsible for 
        acting as a point of contact within the Federal 
        Government for the families of passengers involved in 
        the accident and a liaison between the air carrier or 
        foreign air carrier and the families; and
          (2) designate an independent nonprofit organization, 
        with experience in disasters and posttrauma 
        communication with families, which shall have primary 
        responsibility for coordinating the emotional care and 
        support of the families of passengers involved in the 
        accident.
  (b) * * *
  (h) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
          [(1) Aircraft accident.--The term ``aircraft 
        accident'' means any aviation disaster regardless of 
        its cause or suspected cause.]
          (1) Aircraft accident.--The term ``aircraft 
        accident'' means any aviation disaster, regardless of 
        its cause or suspected cause, for which the National 
        Transportation Safety Board is the lead investigative 
        agency.
          (2) Passenger.--The term ``passenger'' includes--
                  (A) an employee of an air carrier or foreign 
                air carrier aboard an aircraft[; and];
                  (B) any other person aboard the aircraft 
                without regard to whether the person paid for 
                the transportation, occupied a seat, or held a 
                reservation for the flight[.]; and
                  (C) any other person injured or killed in the 
                aircraft accident, as determined appropriate by 
                the Board.
  (i) * * *

Sec. 1138. Evaluation and audit of National Transportation Safety Board

  (a) In General.--To promote economy, efficiency, and 
effectiveness in the administration of the programs, 
operations, and activities of the National Transportation 
Safety Board, the Comptroller General of the United States 
shall evaluate and audit the programs and expenditures of the 
National Transportation Safety Board. Such evaluation and audit 
shall be conducted as determined necessary by the Comptroller 
General or the appropriate congressional committees.
  (b) Responsibility of Comptroller General.--The Comptroller 
General shall evaluate and audit board programs, operations, 
and activities, including--
          (1) information management and security, including 
        privacy protection of personally identifiable 
        information;
          (2) resource management;
          (3) workforce development;
          (4) procurement and contracting planning, practices 
        and policies;
          (5) the process and procedures to select an accident 
        to investigate;
          [(5)](6) the extent to which the Board follows 
        leading practices in selected management areas; and
          [(6)](7) the extent to which the Board addresses 
        management challenges in completing accident 
        investigations.
  (c) Appropriate Congressional Committees.--For purposes of 
this section the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' 
means the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.

Sec. 1140. Information for families of individuals involved in 
                    accidents

  In the course of an investigation of an accident described in 
section 1131(a)(1), except an aircraft accident described in 
section 1136 or a rail passenger accident described in section 
1139, the Board may, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure 
that the families of individuals involved in the accident, and 
other individuals the Board deems appropriate--
          (1) are informed as to the roles, with respect to the 
        accident and the post-accident activities, of the 
        Board;
          (2) are briefed, prior to any public briefing, about 
        the accident, its causes, and any other findings from 
        the investigation; and
          (3) are individually informed of and allowed to 
        attend any public hearings and meetings of the Board 
        about the accident.

                SUBCHAPTER IV. ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES

Sec. 1154. Discovery and use of cockpit and surface vehicle recordings 
                    and transcripts

  (a) [Transcripts and Recordings] In General.--
          (1) Except as provided by this subsection, a party in 
        a judicial proceeding may not use discovery to obtain--
                  (A) any still image that the National 
                Transportation Safety Board has not made 
                available to the public under section 1114(c) 
                or 1114(d) of this title;
                  [(A)](B) any part of a cockpit or surface 
                vehicle recorder transcript that the National 
                Transportation Safety Board has not made 
                available to the public under section 1114(c) 
                or 1114(d) of this title; and
                  [(B)](C) a cockpit or surface vehicle 
                recorder recording.
          (2)(A) Except as provided in paragraph (4)(A) of this 
        subsection, a court may allow discovery by a party of a 
        cockpit or surface vehicle recorder transcript if, 
        after an in camera review of the transcript, the court 
        decides that--
                  (i) the part of the transcript made available 
                to the public under section 1114(c) or 1114(d) 
                of this title does not provide the party with 
                sufficient information for the party to receive 
                a fair trial; and
                  (ii) discovery of additional parts of the 
                transcript is necessary to provide the party 
                with sufficient information for the party to 
                receive a fair trial.
          (B) A court may allow discovery, or require 
        production for an in camera review, of a cockpit or 
        surface vehicle recorder transcript that the Board has 
        not made available under section 1114(c) or 1114(d) of 
        this title only if the cockpit or surface vehicle 
        recorder recording is not available.
          (3) Except as provided in paragraph (4)(A) of this 
        subsection, a court may allow discovery by a party of a 
        cockpit or surface vehicle [recorder recording] 
        recorder recording, including with regard to a video 
        recording any still image that the National 
        Transportation Safety Board has not made available to 
        the public under section 1114(c) or 1114(d) of this 
        title, if, after an in camera review of the recording, 
        the court decides that--
                  (A) the parts of the transcript made 
                available to the public under section 1114(c) 
                or 1114(d) of this title and to the party 
                through discovery under paragraph (2) of this 
                subsection do not provide the party with 
                sufficient information for the party to receive 
                a fair trial; and
                  (B) discovery of the cockpit or surface 
                vehicle [recorder recording] recorder 
                recording, including with regard to a video 
                recording any still image that the National 
                Transportation Safety Board has not made 
                available to the public under section 1114(c) 
                or 1114(d) of this title, is necessary to 
                provide the party with sufficient information 
                for the party to receive a fair trial.
          (4)(A) When a court allows discovery in a judicial 
        proceeding of a still image or a part of a cockpit or 
        surface vehicle recorder transcript not made available 
        to the public under section 1114(c) or 1114(d) of this 
        title or a cockpit or surface vehicle recorder 
        recording, the court shall issue a protective order--
                  (i) to limit the use of [the part of the 
                transcript or the recording] the still image, 
                the part of the transcript, or the recording to 
                the judicial proceeding; and
                  (ii) to prohibit dissemination of [the part 
                of the transcript or the recording] the still 
                image, the part of the transcript, or the 
                recording to any person that does not need 
                access to the part of the transcript or the 
                recording for the proceeding.
          (B) A court may allow a still image or a part of a 
        cockpit or surface vehicle recorder transcript not made 
        available to the public under section 1114(c) or 
        1114(d) of this title or a cockpit or surface vehicle 
        recorder recording to be admitted into evidence in a 
        judicial proceeding, only if the court places [the part 
        of the transcript or the recording] the still image, 
        the part of the transcript, or the recording under seal 
        to prevent the use of [the part of the transcript or 
        the recording] the still image, the part of the 
        transcript, or the recording for purposes other than 
        for the proceeding.
          (5) This subsection does not prevent the Board from 
        referring at any time to cockpit or surface vehicle 
        recorder information in making safety recommendations.
          (6) In this subsection:
                  (A) Recorder.--The term ``recorder'' means a 
                voice or video recorder.
                  (B) Still image.--The term ``still image'' 
                means any still image obtained from a video 
                recorder.
                  [(B)](C) Transcript.--The term ``transcript'' 
                includes any written depiction of visual 
                information obtained from a video recorder.
  (b) Reports.--No part of a report of the Board, related to an 
accident or an investigation of an accident, may be admitted 
into evidence or used in a civil action for damages resulting 
from a matter mentioned in the report.

                        TITLE 49. TRANSPORTATION


                    SUBTITLE VII. AVIATION PROGRAMS

                    PART A. AIR COMMERCE AND SAFETY

                    SUBPART II. ECONOMIC REGULATION

                 CHAPTER 411. AIR CARRIER CERTIFICATES

Sec. 41113. Plans to address needs of families of passengers involved 
                    in aircraft accidents

  (a) Submission of Plans.--Each air carrier holding a 
certificate of public convenience and necessity under section 
41102 of this title shall submit to the Secretary and the 
Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board a plan for 
addressing the needs of the families of passengers involved in 
any aircraft accident involving an aircraft of the air carrier 
and resulting in [a major] any loss of life.
  (b) Contents of Plans.--A plan to be submitted by an air 
carrier under subsection (a) shall include, at a minimum, the 
following:
          (1) A plan for publicizing a reliable, toll-free 
        telephone number, and for providing staff, to handle 
        calls from the families of the passengers.
          (2) A process for notifying the families of the 
        passengers, before providing any public notice of the 
        names of the passengers, either by utilizing the 
        services of the organization designated for the 
        accident under section 1136(a)(2) of this title or the 
        services of other suitably trained individuals.
          (3) An assurance that the notice described in 
        paragraph (2) will be provided to the family of a 
        passenger as soon as the air carrier has verified that 
        the passenger was aboard the aircraft (whether or not 
        the names of all of the passengers have been verified) 
        and, to the extent practicable, in person.
          (4) An assurance that the air carrier will provide to 
        the director of family support services designated for 
        the accident under section 1136(a)(1) of this title, 
        and to the organization designated for the accident 
        under section 1136(a)(2) of this title, immediately 
        upon request, a list (which is based on the best 
        available information at the time of the request) of 
        the names of the passengers aboard the aircraft 
        (whether or not such names have been verified), and 
        will periodically update the list.
          (5) An assurance that the family of each passenger 
        will be consulted about the disposition of all remains 
        and personal effects of the passenger within the 
        control of the air carrier.
          (6) An assurance that if requested by the family of a 
        passenger, any possession of the passenger within the 
        control of the air carrier (regardless of its 
        condition) will be returned to the family unless the 
        possession is needed for the accident investigation or 
        any criminal investigation.
          (7) An assurance that any unclaimed possession of a 
        passenger within the control of the air carrier will be 
        retained by the air carrier for at least 18 months.
          (8) An assurance that the family of each passenger 
        will be consulted about construction by the air carrier 
        of any monument to the passengers, including any 
        inscription on the monument.
          (9) An assurance that the treatment of the families 
        of nonrevenue passengers [(and any other victim of the 
        accident)] (and any other victim of the accident, 
        including any victim on the ground) will be the same as 
        the treatment of the families of revenue passengers.
          (10) An assurance that the air carrier will work with 
        any organization designated under section 1136(a)(2) of 
        this title on an ongoing basis to ensure that families 
        of passengers receive an appropriate level of services 
        and assistance following each accident.
          (11) An assurance that the air carrier will provide 
        reasonable compensation to any organization designated 
        under section 1136(a)(2) of this title for services 
        provided by the organization.
          (12) An assurance that the air carrier will assist 
        the family of a passenger in traveling to the location 
        of the accident and provide for the physical care of 
        the family while the family is staying at such 
        location.
          (13) An assurance that the air carrier will commit 
        sufficient resources to carry out the plan.
          (14) An assurance that, upon request of the family of 
        a passenger, the air carrier will inform the family of 
        whether the passenger's name appeared on a preliminary 
        passenger manifest for the flight involved in the 
        accident.
          (15) An assurance that the air carrier will provide 
        adequate training to the employees and agents of the 
        carrier to meet the needs of survivors and family 
        members following an accident.
          (16) An assurance that the air carrier, in the event 
        that the air carrier volunteers assistance to United 
        States citizens within the United States with respect 
        to an aircraft accident outside the United States 
        involving [major] any loss of life, will consult with 
        the Board and the Department of State on the provision 
        of the assistance.
          (17)(A) An assurance that, in the case of an accident 
        that results in [significant] any damage to a manmade 
        structure or other property on the ground that is not 
        government-owned, the air carrier will promptly provide 
        notice, in writing, to the extent practicable, directly 
        to the owner of the structure or other property about 
        liability for any property damage and means for 
        obtaining compensation.
          (B) At a minimum, the written notice shall advise an 
        owner (i) to contact the insurer of the property as the 
        authoritative source for information about coverage and 
        compensation; (ii) to not rely on unofficial 
        information offered by air carrier representatives 
        about compensation by the air carrier for accident-site 
        property damage; and (iii) to obtain photographic or 
        other detailed evidence of property damage as soon as 
        possible after the accident, consistent with 
        restrictions on access to the accident site.
          (18) An assurance that, in the case of an accident in 
        which the National Transportation Safety Board conducts 
        a public hearing or comparable proceeding at a location 
        greater than 80 miles from the accident site, the air 
        carrier will ensure that the proceeding is made 
        available simultaneously by electronic means at a 
        location open to the public at both the origin city and 
        destination city of the air carrier's flight if that 
        city is located in the United States.
  (c) * * *

                 CHAPTER 413 FOREIGN AIR TRANSPORTATION

Sec. 41313. Plans to address needs of families of passengers involved 
                    in foreign air carrier accidents

  (a) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
          (1) Aircraft accident.--The term ``aircraft 
        accident'' means any aviation disaster, regardless of 
        its cause or suspected cause, that occurs within the 
        United States; and
          (2) Passenger.--The term ``passenger'' has the 
        meaning given such term by section 1136.
  (b) Submission of Plans.--A foreign air carrier providing 
foreign air transportation under this chapter shall transmit to 
the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of the 
National Transportation Safety Board a plan for addressing the 
needs of the families of passengers involved in an aircraft 
accident that involves an aircraft under the control of the 
foreign air carrier and results in [a major] any loss of life.
  (c) Contents of Plans.--To the extent permitted by foreign 
law which was in effect on the date of the enactment of this 
section, a plan submitted by a foreign air carrier under 
subsection (b) shall include the following:
          (1) Telephone number.--A plan for publicizing a 
        reliable, toll-free telephone number and staff to take 
        calls to such number from families of passengers 
        involved in an aircraft accident that involves an 
        aircraft under the control of the foreign air carrier 
        and results in [a significant] any loss of life.
          (2) Notification of families.--a process for 
        notifying, in person to the extent practicable, the 
        families of passengers involved in an aircraft accident 
        that involves an aircraft under the control of the 
        foreign air carrier and results in [a significant] any 
        loss of life before providing any public notice of the 
        names of such passengers. such notice shall be provided 
        by using the services of--
                  (A) the organization designated for the 
                accident under section 1136(a)(2); or
                  (B) other suitably trained individuals.
          (3) Notice provided as soon as possible.--An 
        assurance that the notice required by paragraph (2) 
        shall be provided as soon as practicable after the 
        foreign air carrier has verified the identity of a 
        passenger on the foreign aircraft, whether or not the 
        names of all of the passengers have been verified.
          (4) List of passengers.--An assurance that the 
        foreign air carrier shall provide, immediately upon 
        request, and update a list (based on the best available 
        information at the time of the request) of the names of 
        the passengers aboard the aircraft (whether or not such 
        names have been verified), to--
                  (A) the director of family support services 
                designated for the accident under section 
                1136(a)(1); and
                  (B) the organization designated for the 
                accident under section 1136(a)(2).
          (5) Consultation regarding disposition of remains and 
        effects.--An assurance that the family of each 
        passenger will be consulted about the disposition of 
        any remains and personal effects of the passenger that 
        are within the control of the foreign air carrier.
          (6) Return of possessions.--An assurance that, if 
        requested by the family of a passenger, any possession 
        (regardless of its condition) of that passenger that is 
        within the control of the foreign air carrier will be 
        returned to the family unless the possession is needed 
        for the accident investigation or a criminal 
        investigation.
          (7) Unclaimed possessions retained.--An assurance 
        that any unclaimed possession of a passenger within the 
        control of the foreign air carrier will be retained by 
        the foreign air carrier for not less than 18 months 
        after the date of the accident.
          (8) Monuments.--An assurance that the family of each 
        passenger will be consulted about construction by the 
        foreign air carrier of any monument to the passengers 
        built in the United States, including any inscription 
        on the monument.
          [(9) Equal treatment of passengers.--An assurance 
        that the treatment of the families of nonrevenue 
        passengers will be the same as the treatment of the 
        families of revenue passengers.]
          (9) Equal treatment of passengers.--An assurance that 
        the treatment of the families of nonrevenue passengers 
        (and any other victim of the accident, including any 
        victim on the ground) will be the same as the treatment 
        of the families of revenue passengers.
          (10) Service and assistance to families of 
        passengers.--An assurance that the foreign air carrier 
        will work with any organization designated under 
        section 1136(a)(2) on an ongoing basis to ensure that 
        families of passengers receive an appropriate level of 
        services and assistance following an accident.
          (11) Compensation to service organizations.--An 
        assurance that the foreign air carrier will provide 
        reasonable compensation to any organization designated 
        under section 1136(a)(2) for services and assistance 
        provided by the organization.
          (12) Travel and care expenses.--An assurance that the 
        foreign air carrier will assist the family of any 
        passenger in traveling to the location of the accident 
        and provide for the physical care of the family while 
        the family is staying at such location.
          (13) Resources for plan.--An assurance that the 
        foreign air carrier will commit sufficient resources to 
        carry out the plan.
          (14) Substitute measures.--If a foreign air carrier 
        does not wish to comply with paragraph (10), (11), or 
        (12), a description of proposed adequate substitute 
        measures for the requirements of each paragraph with 
        which the foreign air carrier does not wish to comply.
          (15) Training of employees and agents.--An assurance 
        that the foreign air carrier will provide adequate 
        training to the employees and agents of the carrier to 
        meet the needs of survivors and family members 
        following an accident.
          (16) Consultation on carrier response not covered by 
        plan.--An assurance that the foreign air carrier, in 
        the event that the foreign air carrier volunteers 
        assistance to United States citizens within the United 
        States with respect to an aircraft accident outside the 
        United States involving [major] any loss of life, the 
        foreign air carrier will consult with the Board and the 
        Department of State on the provision of the assistance.
          (17) Notice concerning liability for manmade 
        structures.--
                  (A) In general.--An assurance that, in the 
                case of an accident that results in 
                [significant] any damage to a manmade structure 
                or other property on the ground that is not 
                government-owned, the foreign air carrier will 
                promptly provide notice, in writing, to the 
                extent practicable, directly to the owner of 
                the structure or other property about liability 
                for any property damage and means for obtaining 
                compensation.
                  (B) Minimum contents.--At a minimum, the 
                written notice shall advise an owner (i) to 
                contact the insurer of the property as the 
                authoritative source for information about 
                coverage and compensation; (ii) to not rely on 
                unofficial information offered by foreign air 
                carrier representatives about compensation by 
                the foreign air carrier for accident-site 
                property damage; and (iii) to obtain 
                photographic or other detailed evidence of 
                property damage as soon as possible after the 
                accident, consistent with restrictions on 
                access to the accident site.
          (18) Simultaneous electronic transmission of ntsb 
        hearing.--An assurance that, in the case of an accident 
        in which the National Transportation Safety Board 
        conducts a public hearing or comparable proceeding at a 
        location greater than 80 miles from the accident site, 
        the foreign air carrier will ensure that the proceeding 
        is made available simultaneously by electronic means at 
        a location open to the public at both the origin city 
        and destination city of the foreign air carrier's 
        flight if that city is located in the United States.
  (d) Permit and Exemption Requirement.--The Secretary shall 
not approve an application for a permit under section 41302 
unless the applicant has included as part of the application or 
request for exemption a plan that meets the requirements of 
subsection (c).
  (e) Limitation on Liability.--A foreign air carrier shall not 
be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or 
State court arising out of the performance of the foreign air 
carrier in preparing or providing a passenger list pursuant to 
a plan submitted by the foreign air carrier under subsection 
(c), unless the liability was caused by conduct of the foreign 
air carrier which was grossly negligent or which constituted 
intentional misconduct.

                                  [all]