On August 02, 2018, HR 5729 was signed into law, becoming Public Law No: 115-230,The Transportation Worker Identification Credential Accountability Act of 2018. The law is so brief that it is quoted in its entirety at the end of this post. It prohibits the Coast Guard from implementing the TWIC Reader Final Rule and proposing or issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking for any revision to that rule except to extend its effective date, or for any other rule requiring the use of biometric readers for biometric transportation security cards. The Coast Guard may not do any of this before the end of the 60-day period after submission to Congress of the results of an assessment of the effectiveness of the TWIC program, required under a 2016 law mandating a comprehensive security assessment of the program. TSA was supposed to have commenced and completed this assessment of the TWIC program in 2017, but I can find no evidence on the relevant congressional committee websites of testimony on the assessment.
On August 03 the Coast Guard published a post on Maritime Commons, Latest Developments Regarding the TWIC Reader Final Rule, at http://mariners.coastguard.dodlive.mil/2018/08/03/8-3-2018-latest-developments-regarding-twic-reader-final-rule/, advising about HR 5729.
The Maritime Commons post gives some information from International Liquid Terminals Association et. al. v. DHS, the industry groups lawsuit against the TWIC reader rule, that also impacts implementation of the rule: “Additionally, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a court order July 24, 2018, delaying the TWIC Reader Final Rule implementation at Certain Dangerous Cargo transfer and non-transfer facilities until further order of the Court, in response to a lawsuit brought by industry groups.”
What this will probably mean for us is that the clock has been stopped on the TWIC reader final rule – not just for certain classes of facilities, but for all facilities subject to the rule. Maritime Commons states in the August 03 post that “The Office of Port and Facility Compliance will provide additional information regarding the impacts of this law, the current lawsuit, and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the near future.”
Public Law No: 115-230
An Act, To restrict the department in which the Coast Guard is operating from implementing any rule requiring the use of biometric readers for biometric transportation security cards until after submission to Congress of the results of an assessment of the effectiveness of the transportation security card program.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Transportation Worker Identification Credential Accountability Act of 2018”.
SEC. 2. RESTRICTION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF TRANSPORTATION WORKER IDENTIFICATION CREDENTIAL BIOMETRIC READER RULE.
The department in which the Coast Guard is operating may not implement the rule entitled “Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)–Reader Requirements” (81 Fed. Reg. 57651), and may not propose or issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for any revision to such rule except to extend its effective date, or for any other rule requiring the use of biometric readers for biometric transportation security cards under section 70105(k)(3) of title 46, United States Code, before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the submission under paragraph (5) of section 1(b) of Public Law 114–278 (130 Stat. 1411 to 1412) of the results of the assessment required by that section.
SEC. 3. PROGRESS UPDATES.
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 90 days thereafter until the submission under paragraph (5) of section 1(b) of Public Law 114–278 (130 Stat. 1411 et seq.) of the results of the assessment required by that section, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall report to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate regarding the implementation of that section.