FAA sex assault tracking requirement offered as amendment

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is attaching her proposal to require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep track of sexual assaults that are committed on airplanes to a bill about airfare advertising that is scheduled to be marked up on Wednesday.

Norton said her measure, which has been dubbed the Protecting Airline Passengers from Sexual Assaults Act, would help close a loophole in sexual assault reporting that occurs because in-flight sexual assaults are often not investigated properly due to murky jurisdiction rules.

Norton said the airline advertising bill that is scheduled to be marked up on Wednesday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee “provides an opportunity to move this vital legislation to require the FAA to keep real-time statistics and documentation on sexual assaults on airplanes.

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“Without statistics, we cannot gain either the necessary information to prosecute these crimes or the insights to help eliminate them and improve complicated onboard sexual assault investigations by the FBI,” Norton said in a statement. “Law enforcement and the flying public deserve to have access to data on sexual assaults that occur aboard planes so that we can work towards preventing these devastating crimes.”

Norton first announced that she was filing the requirement that the FAA track sexual assaults as a standalone measure last month.

The underlying airfare bill, which is known as the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R 4156), would undo regulations for airline ticket advertisements that have been enacted by the Department of Transportation under President Obama. 

The airfare advertising bill, which is sponsored by House Transportation Committee Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), would eliminate regulations that require airlines to include taxes and fees in the price quotes they give to passengers when they shop online for flights.

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