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CBS 11 Investigation Leads To New TSA Legislation

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - One of the most powerful senators in the country is taking action after watching a CBS 11 investigation.  Democratic Senator Charles Schumer from New York saw our story uncovering a pattern of women complaining about  the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents. Now, Senator Schumer wants to give passengers a way to complain if they feel mistreated.

Senator Schumer kicked off his news conference in New York on Sunday by referencing Ellen Terrell, the female passenger who spoke out to CBS 11 earlier this month.

"At one point the passenger was asked if she plays tennis because she of her 'cute' figure, " said Schumer, who held his both hands up making quotations signs with his fingers as he said "cute."

He described what happened to Terrell at DFW airport as it was reported word for word in our CBS 11 investigation.

"A passenger at Dallas Fort Worth claims she was asked to walk through a body scanner three times for the simple purpose of letting screeners in another room get multiple views of her image."

And, Schumer was not only familiar with Terrell's claims but also the complaints our investigation exposed from other female travelers.

"Some report feeling targeted or being subjected to a peep show."

The Senator announced that he is introducing legislation this week that will mandate TSA post passenger advocates at every airport in the country who can be summoned by passengers to hear their concerns if they feel they've been inappropriately treated by TSA officers.

"These latest incidents offer further proof that passengers need an onsite point of contact who they can bring grievances to and who can advocate on their behalf when they feel they are being treated unfairly or inappropriately, " said Schumer.

"Going through security at our nations airports should not be a humiliating or degrading experience. Because the TSA has refused to put passenger advocates at our nation's airports, today I'm introducing legislation that would force them to do so."

The RIGHTS act would specifically:

  • Require the TSA to establish an "Office for Passenger Support"
  • Require every airport where TSA operates to have at least one TSA Passneger Advocate on duty at all times
  • Mandate every airport where TSA operates to have clearly visible signage explaining that a TSA passenger advocate can be summoned
  • Establish best practices to resolve frequent public complaints and conduct training of TSA officers to resolve frequently occurring passenger complaints
  • And field advance notification calls from individuals with medical conditions or disabilities to pre-arrange for a screening process at the airport that ensures the safety of the flight without causing undue hardship for the disabled passneger.

In response to the proposed legislation, Ellen Terrell told CBS 11 she likes the idea of a passenger advocate. She believes the Senator is on the "right track." Terrell, however, would like a "third party, unbiased person" to become the passenger advocate, not a TSA agent.

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