Florida Congresswoman proposes ban on repetitive TWIC checks

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, June 04, 2009

Congresswoman Kathy Castor, D-FL, offered an amendment to a funding bill Thursday that prevents states and ports from requiring truckers to pay for and undergo multiple background checks before entering U.S. ports.

Castor’s amendment – made as part of the TSA Authorization bill –recognizes the federally issued Transportation Worker Identification Credential card as sufficient identification for all states and ports – unless a locality could show some compelling national security reason for a separate background check and pass.

The amendment was added into the TSA Authorization bill by a vote Thursday afternoon. The entire bill was expected to be considered for vote after press time later in the day.

Castor’s state has included its share of repetitive security and background checks for truckers and others who work even occasionally at ports. Ports such as the Port of Miami require local ID programs. Until recently Florida had implemented a statewide port ID program similar to TWIC called FUPAC.

In May, the Florida Legislature voted to end the FUPAC program, which required a background check some viewed as less extensive than TWIC.

OOIDA has filed multiple comments with the Federal Register regarding the expense and degree of time spent and difficulty in obtaining TWIC cards, as well as the repetitive nature of TWIC and hazmat background checks.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist, welcomed Castor’s proposed change.

“It’s unfortunate, but sometimes it does take an act of Congress to instill some sanity with these states that view truckers as some kind of profit center,” Rajkovacz said. “If possession of a TWIC was not good enough for them as a credential, then how in the world is something that’s no more secure than something they could get out of a Cracker Jack box any improvement?”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

 

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