Senate Commerce Approves AV START Act, Other bills and nominations

Self-driving vehicles legislation and TSA Modernization Act advance on voice votes

October 4, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today, by voice vote, approved S. 1885, The American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act, which advances efforts to improve roadway safety through the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Passage of the legislation included new bipartisan Senate language to establish a balance between federal and state laws affecting self-driving vehicles offered as an amendment (Nelson 1 modified) by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The committee also approved bipartisan legislation to reform the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), legislation to establish a national suicide prevention hotline, and five nominees subject to Senate confirmation.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the committee and lead Republican sponsor of The AV START Act, and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the lead Democrat sponsor of the bill, issued the following statements on committee passage of S. 1885:

“Today’s vote underscores the bipartisan desire to move ahead with self-driving vehicle technology,” said Thune“Sen. Peters and the members of the Commerce Committee deserve credit for working together to move this bill forward toward Senate floor consideration and collaboration with our colleagues in the House of Representatives. The safety and economic benefits of self-driving vehicles are too critical to delay.”

“Self-driving vehicles will make transformative changes to improve mobility, reduce accidents and enhance safety for millions of travelers on our roads,” said Peters. “I appreciate the hard work of Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson to craft this important legislation that will help advance these lifesaving and life-changing self-driving technologies and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of vehicle innovation.” 

Bills and nominations considered are as follows (approved by voice vote unless otherwise noted):

1.    S. 1885, American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

    a. Blumenthal 1 (modified)
    b. Blumenthal 4 (modified)
    c. Blumenthal 6
    d. Blumenthal 9
    e. Blumenthal 10 (modified)
    f. Blumenthal 11
    g. Blumenthal 19 (modified)
    h. Booker 3 (modified)
    i. Duckworth 4 (modified)
    j. Duckworth 5 (modified)
    k. Duckworth 6 (modified)
    l. Duckworth 8 (modified)
    m. Gardner 1
    n. Gardner 2
    o. Hassan 4 (modified)
    p. Inhofe 2 (modified)
    q. Klobuchar 1 (modified)
    r. Klobuchar 2 (modified)
    s. Markey 1 (modified) 
    t. Markey 2 (modified)
    u. Nelson 1 (modified)
    v. Schatz 2
    w. Schatz 3 (modified)
    x. Schatz 4 (modified)
    y. Udall 1 (modified)
    z. Wicker 2 (modified) 

2.    S. 1872, TSA Modernization Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

    a. Gardner 1 (modified)
    b. Inhofe 1
    c. Markey 1 (modified)
    d. Schatz 1 (modified)
    e. Thune 1
    f. Thune 2

3.    S. 1015, National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) 

    a. Sullivan Substitute

4a.    Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle, of New York, to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

4b.    Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle, of New York, to be a Commissioner of the CPSC for a term of seven years from October 27, 2018 (agreed by roll call vote: 14-13)

5.    Nomination of Walter G. Copan, of Colorado, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology

6.    Nomination of Howard R. Elliott, of Indiana, to be Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Department of Transportation

7.    Nomination of Timothy Gallaudet, of California, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

8.    Nomination of David J. Redl, of New York, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information

NOTE: Updated S. 1885 Schatz 4 (modified) on 10/13