Harley Rouda

House passes H.R. 3409, Coast Guard Authorization Act

The House unanimously passed H.R. 3409, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019. The bill includes a provision originally introduced as the Boater Protection from Laser Pointers Act by Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. The provision prohibits causing the beam of a laser pointer to strike a vessel operating on the navigable waters of the United States, excepting authorized federal officials acting in an official capacity.

Said Rouda, “Boating is central to the culture, economy, and security of Coastal Orange County. My common-sense bill will ensure the safe operation of all vessels in our waters, including Coast Guard vessels protecting our shores, by prohibiting pointing lasers at vessels operating in the waters of the United States. Interference with Coast Guard operations and the safe operation of any boats on the coast is unacceptable, and should be prohibited by law. I thank Ranking Member Gibbs for his critical support of this bill.”

The U.S. Coast Guard regularly carries out homeland security missions off the coast of Orange County, including missions of search and rescue, port and waterway security, and the protection of marine resources and maritime commerce.

The bill’s passage comes as an uptick in laser incidents affecting merchant ships across the U.S. have disrupted coastguard exercises, ferry operations, and shipping.

This article was released by the Office of Representative Harley Rouda.