LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. John Damoose to improve security at state airports was recently signed into law.
“This is an important, commonsense update that closes potential loopholes and will improve security and safety at Michigan airports,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “I am proud to have offered a bill that garnered strong bipartisan support and solves an issue that was brought to our attention — this is how good legislation should work.”
Senate Bill 22, now Public Act 219 of 2023, amends the Aeronautics Code to modify the definition of an airport “sterile area” to mirror federal guidelines and prohibit an individual from possessing or carrying a firearm, explosive, knife, razor, box cutter or similarly bladed item, or dangerous weapon in the sterile area of a commercial airport.
Under the new law, an airport “sterile area” refers to an area defined in the airport security program as one that provides passengers access to an aircraft and an area which access is generally controlled by the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration, or by an aircraft operator. Typically, this refers to spaces beyond a security screening checkpoint.
“The legislation was the result of changes to federal guidelines, which drew concerns from some prosecutors about enforceability. The new law ensures state and federal guidelines line up and provides the necessary tools to bring those who violate the law to justice,” Damoose said.
The bill was signed into law on Nov. 22 and will go into effect on Feb. 13, 2024.