WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.
The Senate was the only chamber in session this week. The House is scheduled to reconvene on April 12.
There were no key votes in the House this week.
Senate vote 1
PUNISHING THEFT OF TRADE SECRETS: The Senate has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, sponsored by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah. The bill would authorize the filing of lawsuits in U.S. courts by companies that own trade secrets and are seeking damages for theft or misuse of their trade secrets by a domestic or foreign company.
Hatch said that currently, trade secret owners have very limited recourse in the courts to punish theft and discourage attempted theft, making the bill necessary to give those owners broader, more effective ways to preserve trade secrets essential to their operations and research and development.
The vote was unanimous with 87 yeas. Both Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, were among the yeas.
Senate vote 2
FAA REAUTHORIZATION: The Senate has approved a cloture motion to proceed to consideration of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi, R-Ohio. The bill would reauthorize the FAA and change various aviation policies, including the adoption of new rules aimed at improving the safe operation of unmanned drone aircraft and avoiding midair collisions between drones and airplanes, and tighten mental health evaluation standards for commercial pilots.
A supporter of the motion, Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, said the bill’s various reforms were “important for America’s economy and the safety of our traveling public.”
The vote was unanimous with 98 yeas. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 3
SECURITY AND AIRPORT WORKERS: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. The amendment would require tighter security reviews and background checks of airport workers and increase penalties for workers who fail to report the loss of the security badges that allow them to bypass security checkpoints.
Thune said that given incidents of airport workers using badges to help transport drugs, and the possible use of badges in terrorist plots, better security rules were needed to give the TSA and other agencies “all the tools they need in order to do their jobs effectively.”
An amendment opponent, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vermont, said the expanded background checks would create “unnecessary barriers to employment for people with criminal records.”
The vote was 85 yeas to 10 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 4
INCREASING AIRPORT SECURITY: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. The amendment would double the number of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response security teams at airports and other transit points, adopt measures aimed at increasing the security of baggage claim and other less secure areas of airports, and provide training for law enforcement to prepare for mass casualty and active shooter incidents at airports and other mass transit systems.
Heinrich said that using bomb-sniffing dogs and other measures in unsecured airport areas would decrease vulnerability to terrorism.
The vote was 91 yeas to 5 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 5
PASSENGER SPACE ON AIRPLANES: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. The amendment would have required the FAA to bar airlines from cutting legroom and other passenger and aisle space on their airplanes, and adopt minimum space standards that airlines must provide for airline passengers, with information about passenger space provided on the airlines’ websites.
Schumer said the space requirements would work toward reversing a long trend of tighter spacing of seats that has diminished passenger comfort and safety.
The vote was 42 yeas to 54 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.