Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Chairwoman of the Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee, announced that after pressing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency has stepped up enforcement of Federal mandate for travelers to wear masks in transportation settings.
In a letter to the Committee, TSA Administrator David Pekoske wrote that as of November 1, 2021, TSA issued 2,310 Warning Notices and 199 Notices of Civil Penalty for mask mandate violations. Additionally, TSA has doubled the fines for mask noncompliance and broadened the list of factors that can cause an individual to qualify for a civil penalty. TSA wrote that it also temporarily suspends PreCheck access for individuals who receive a warning or fine.
“We are pleased that TSA has been increasing enforcement of the Federal mask mandate for transportation settings – both in terms of number of enforcement actions and dollar amount. However, TSA needs to continue to increase enforcement to ensure violators face consequences. These actions are critical to hold offenders accountable, discourage unacceptable behavior, and deter potential threats that put both travelers and the frontline TSA workforce at risk.
“We are also glad to see TSA is taking assaults on its workers seriously, with assault, intimidation, and threats towards Transportation Security Officers subject to additional potential penalties. TSA’s frontline workforce shouldn’t have to worry about violence at work, especially while enduring low pay, a lack of workplace rights, and being on the frontlines of a pandemic for almost two years – all while working hard to help keep our skies secure.”