Senators have voted on two additional amendments to the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (S. 223) today.
The first amendment, offered by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), was adopted by a vote of 96-1. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the one “no” vote.
According to The Hill, the amendment would “make it a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft.”
Whitehouse said current laws are too weak to prosecute people who are caught red-handed trying to blind pilots with laser beams. His amendment would allow fines and prison terms of up to five years for such action.
Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) stressed the importance of the Whitehouse amendment in floor remarks prior to the vote calling the issue a “national security threat.”
The second amendment, offered by Senator Paul, was tabled by a vote of 55-42. According to floor remarks made by the Senator, it would exempt the FAA from Davis–Bacon wage determinations.
The restrictions were signed into law in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover, according to Wikipedia. The law “established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects.”
All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects.
Senator Paul said that an exemption from the law could save about $500 million.