WASHINGTON — Two bills and several important measures from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are included in the final Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill the Senate passed today.
The Preventing Emerging Threats Act gives the departments of Homeland Security and Justice the authority needed to protect important buildings and assets when a security risk is posed by a drone. Federal law enforcement currently lacks any authority to counter the malicious use of unmanned aircraft. The bill also requires the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate emerging threats that drones may pose to state or private critical infrastructure and domestic airports. Last month, the NFL endorsed the bill at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on evolving threats to homeland security.
“By including the Preventing Emerging Threats Act in the FAA reauthorization bill, Congress has provided federal law enforcement authorization to counter the malign use of drones. This is a necessary first step in addressing the growing threat posed by drones in the hands of terrorists and criminals,” said Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The Disaster Recovery Reform Act ensures the effective use of federal emergency response funds and provides tools to state and local governments to execute effective local response to disasters. With specific provisions to improve disaster mitigation efforts, to streamline FEMA processes and to eliminate waste, the bill improves the way the nation prepares for and responds to disasters.
“I’m pleased that Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act. This bill recognizes the proper roles of local, state, and federal governments in disaster relief. It then provides tools for more efficient and effective governmental action.”
In addition to these bills, several other measures Johnson pushed for, such as exempting large fly-ins, such as the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, from having to pay air traffic service fees, and requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to track NextGen implementation progress are also included in the final text of the reauthorization bill. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.