Wednesday, December 14, 2011

S 1966 Introduced – TWIC Processing

Last week Sen. Ayotte (R,NH) introduced S 1966, a bill to reform the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) processing. The bill would direct revisions of the application renewal process so that only a single visit would be necessary to the TWIC Processing Center.

This bill is very similar to HR 3173 that was introduced last month. The major difference in this bill is that it does not include as much verbiage describing the problem as the House bill. A minor difference in the action language of the bill may have significant implications however. As I noted in my earlier blog HR 3173 includes language that requires the processing change to require, “in total [emphasis added], not more than one in-person visit to a designated enrollment center” {§3}. That specific language is not included in this Senate bill.

One reading of the House bill would be that since all current TWIC holders have already made multiple trips to the enrollment center, subsequent trips for renewals would not be necessary. There could be all sorts of fraud and security implications of such a requirement that I addressed in an earlier blog.

The language in S 1966 demands that the new procedures “to require not more than 1 in-person visit to a designated enrollment center”. The subtle difference in the wording could certainly be argued to mean only a single trip for the initial card and only one for renewing that card. This argument would be less credible if the language in HR 3173 did not pre-date this bills introduction.

Interestingly the language in HR 3173 has already been incorporated in HR 3116, the DHS Authorization Bill, as adopted by the House. If it remains in the final version of the bill, S 1966 will become just another bill cluttering up the record of the 112th Congress. The introduction of this bill will, however, certainly show up in Ayotte’s campaign literature.

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