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Gazette Premium Content US House passes bill prompted by LA airport attack

Associated Press Updated: July 23, 2014 at 2:16 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill on airport security that was prompted by a gunman's attack on a Transportation Security Administration station at Los Angeles International Airport last year.

The bipartisan legislation approved Tuesday on a voice vote would require the Department of Homeland Security to verify that airports have working plans to respond to active shooters, terrorism and other security incidents. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The Nov. 1, 2013, attack at LAX killed TSA screener Gerardo Hernandez, for whom the bill is named, and wounded three other people.

The response revealed lack of coordination among police, fire and other emergency responders, as well as problems with emergency communications equipment. People evacuated from the airport and others just arriving were left to mill about with little or no information.

"These security failures are unacceptable," said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes the airport.

She added it is "imperative" that major airports like LAX have state-of-the-art emergency response systems. "The safety and security of our nation's airports and all of the workers and travelers who pass through them is of paramount importance," the Democrat said in a statement.

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