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PASSED THE SENATE: Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization with Hassan-Authored Provision to Expand Access to Universal Changing Stations at Airports

Bill Includes Hassan’s Provision to Expand Access in Airports to Universal Changing Stations for People Who Experience Disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate yesterday evening passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with critical priorities for New Hampshire, including a provision authored by U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to expand access to universal changing stations in airports. These changing stations allow for clean and dignified use of public restrooms for many people who experience disabilities. Without these, caregivers have to change some individuals on the floor of restrooms or those individuals are not able to use the restroom at all while traveling. The bill now goes to the House for consideration ahead of next week’s deadline for the bill to become law.

“I am pleased that the Senate advanced a bipartisan reauthorization of the FAA that provides people who experience disabilities the ability to travel with dignity, protects passenger safety, and strengthens consumer protections to reimburse passengers for some delays,” said Senator Hassan. “I am particularly glad to see included my provision to install universal changing stations in airports, which will ensure that people who experience disabilities are able to travel safely and confidently, knowing that they can access the equipment that they need. This legislation is important for both New Hampshire and anyone who flies, and I urge my colleagues in the House to pass it immediately.”

The bipartisan Senate-passed reauthorization of the FAA includes the following New Hampshire priorities supported by Senator Hassan:

  • Providing dignity to travelers experiencing disabilities: The bill includes Senator Hassan’s provision that requires all medium and large airports to commit to installing or maintaining at least one universal changing station in each terminal and requires them to post signage near the entrance to ensure that travelers are aware of their locations to be eligible for Airport Improvement Program grants. These grants are used by many highly trafficked airports, including Boston Logan International Airport.
  • Increasing Air Traffic Controller Hiring: The bill directs the FAA to fill the vacancy of approximately 3,000 air traffic controllers and keep the system that protects the public and our national airspace fully staffed.
  • Supporting Smaller Airports: The bill provides increased funding for the Airport Improvement Program to help small airports — which is particularly helpful for New Hampshire — modernize infrastructure and help airports dispose of firefighting chemicals with PFAS forever chemicals and use other, safer options. This program builds on the bipartisan infrastructure law, which Senator Hassan helped negotiate and pass into law.
  • Protecting Passenger Safety: The bill has new oversight and transparency requirements to ensure that FAA standards for the design and manufacturing of airplanes are being fully met.
  • Boosting Veteran Hiring: The legislation provides pathways for veterans to civil aviation careers, including creating a new military mechanic competency test to boost veteran mechanic hiring, as well as a grant program to help recruit and train veteran pilots to become commercial pilots and flight instructors.
  • Strengthening Consumer Rights: The legislation provides strong consumer protections, including putting into law that airlines must provide refunds when a flight is significantly delayed or canceled, and passengers must be reimbursed for reasonable costs due to delays or cancelations. The legislation also prohibits airlines from charging families more to allow them to sit together during flights.