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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Congresswoman Waters Applauds Committee Approval of Hernandez Airport Security Act

June 12, 2014
Press Release
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) applauded the Homeland Security Committee's approval of H.R. 4802, the Hernandez Airport Security Act, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in response to the November 1, 2013, shooting incident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which took the life of Gerardo Hernandez, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer who was killed in the line of duty.  LAX is located in Congresswoman Waters' congressional district.   The Homeland Security Committee approved the bill by voice vote during a markup today, and it now awaits consideration on the House floor.  

"I applaud the Homeland Security Committee for approving this bill to improve security standards at our nation's airports," said Congresswoman Waters. "The security failures at LAX, which were tragically revealed during the shooting, are simply unacceptable. Congress must make certain they are never repeated."

Reports on the LAX shooting incident, released separately by TSA and Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, revealed a number of problems that interfered with incident response efforts.  For example, emergency phones and panic buttons at LAX were not in good working order, and problems in coordination between various police and fire departments resulted in multiple command posts at different locations that did not unify for 45 minutes.  

H.R. 4802 requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct outreach to airports to verify that they have working plans to respond to security incidents, including active shooter incidents, acts of terrorism, and incidents that target passenger-screening checkpoints.  Such plans may include a plan for establishing unified command, a schedule for testing of communications equipment used to receive emergency calls, a plan to communicate with travelers and other persons in the airport, and a schedule of training for airport police, fire, and medical personnel and other relevant stakeholders.

"The safety and security of our nation's airports and all of the workers and travelers who pass though them is of paramount importance. The Department of Homeland Security must take action to make certain that airports like LAX have a state-of-the-art emergency response system," concluded Congresswoman Waters.