(PatriotHeadline.com)- Forget your mask on a plane, train and some automobiles, and you could face huge fines from the Transportation Security Administration.
New mandates issued by President Joe Biden as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require that people who take any type of public transportation must wear a mask for doing so. And the TSA is the federal agency that has been picked to be the enforcer of those mandates.
The TSA announced a fine structure for those who disobey the mandates, posting on their website:
“Regarding the civil penalty fine structure for individuals who violate the Security Directive, TSA will recommend a fine ranging from $250 for the first offense up to $1,500 for repeat offenders.”
These civil penalties aren’t the only form of punishment people could face, though. Airlines have pretty wide-ranging powers when it comes to limiting which passengers are allowed to fly with them. The TSA also said it could increase fines for certain people, saying:
“Based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges.”
There are a few major issues with the penalties announced by the TSA and the language they used to describe them.
First, there is no mention whether a passenger will be warned if they don’t wear a mask on public transportation, or if they’ll be immediately issued a fine.
Second, the TSA gives itself the power to issue pretty substantial fines, with no real definition as to what would constitute “substantial aggravating or mitigating factors” that would allow the agency to issue a fine that would fall “outside these ranges.” That’s a dangerous precedent to set, and gives the TSA a lot of rope to impose their will.
The TSA explained how the process will work at airports:
“All passengers who appear to be over the age of 2 must properly wear a face mask throughout the security screening process. The officer at the TDC (Travel Document Checker) will request that travelers temporarily lower the mask to verify their identity.
“Those who approach the TDC without a mask will be asked to wear or obtain one to proceed. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area.
“Depending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty for attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel or a combination of those offenses.”
In addition to the issue of the fines and the language surrounding the penalties, the TSA is now going to be responsible for policing way more than just airlines. They are the agency that has been made responsible for issuing fines to people who violate the rules on subways, on buses and on trains.
Any transportation provider who catches a passenger violating the mask mandates will need to contact the TSA for the next step. As R. Carter Langston, a spokesman for the TSA, told The Washington Post:
“They will report violators to TSA, and TSA may penalize those who refuse to wear a mask within the transportation networks.”
In a statement, TSA did say that people who have been issued a fine for violating the mask mandates would have the right to appeal:
“Among their options are the right to an informal conference with TSA. Specific data will not be available until after all legal proceedings are completed, which could take an extended period of time.”