LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate earlier this week approved legislation sponsored by Sen. John Damoose to update state law and improve security at state airports.
“I’m happy to see this legislation move forward — especially with wide bipartisan support,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “This bill would update and clarify state law to improve airport security and ensure safe travel from Michigan airports.”
Senate Bill 22 would amend the Aeronautics Code to modify the definition of an airport “sterile area” to bring state law in line with federal guidelines and prohibit an individual from possessing or carrying a firearm, explosive, knife, razor or box cutter or similarly bladed item, or dangerous weapon in the sterile area of a commercial airport.
Under the legislation, “sterile area” would be clarified to mean a portion of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to an aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by U.S. Transportation and Security Administration, or by an aircraft operator. As a general rule, this refers to the space beyond the security screening checkpoint.
The legislation was the result of changes to the structure of federal guidelines, which some prosecutors say make the state’s existing laws unenforceable and open to potential loopholes.
“Updating state law to coincide with federal rules will provide clear and concise guidelines and give prosecutors the necessary tools to ensure those who violate the law can be brought to justice,” Damoose said.
The bill has been referred to the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Transportation, Mobility and Infrastructure.