Press Releases

Lee Introduces Bill to Protect Communities from Drone Threats

Mar 24, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Stopping Harmful Incidents to Enforce Lawful Drone Use (SHIELD-U) Act to equip state and local law enforcement with the authority needed to protect their citizens and communities from drone threats.

Sen. Lee Fights Central Bank Digital Currency

Mar 24, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced legislation to prevent the Federal Reserve from reshaping the U.S. financial sector and having the ability to monitor consumer transactions.

Sen. Lee Introduces Bills to Improve U.S. Aviation Industry

Mar 24, 2023


 WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced three bills to improve and encourage innovation in the U.S. aviation industry: the Aviation Empowerment Act, the Flight Sharing Freedom Act, the Screening Partnership Reform Act, and the Air Traffic Control Safe Operations and Readiness Act. Details about the bills can be found below.


Aviation Empowerment Act

The Aviation Empowerment Act would address outdated FAA rules and regulations that stifle innovation within the general aviation sector by preventing participation in the “sharing economy.”


Currently, “private pilots” may carry a small number of passengers only by coordinating on physical bulletin boards to share flight costs. They are prohibited from coordinating on online platforms, and deemed “common carriers,” like a major airline, if they do so. Since the FAA has not defined “common carrier” in federal law, the FAA has broad authority to determine who and what meets its regulatory interpretation. Furthermore, current federal law prohibits private pilots from receiving compensation for the transport of persons or property.


  • The Aviation Empowerment Act would help bring 21st century innovation to aviation by correcting these oversights to allow a “flight sharing” economy. In particular, the bill would:


  • Codify a definition of a “common carrier” based on the FAA’s own internal regulatory definition


  • Reverse the FAA’s ban on online flight-sharing by allowing private pilots to communicate with the public through the internet, or in any manner they deem appropriate


  • Create a “personal operator” category of pilot who may fly 8 or fewer passengers for compensation and not be deemed a “common carrier”


Aviation Empowerment Act bill text


Screening Partnership Reform Act


The Screening Partnership Reform Act would make changes to the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) Screening Partnership Program (SPP), which allows TSA to contract with private companies to carry out its screening services.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has estimated that the program cuts costs for participating airports by 11%, compared to TSA’s screening. However, the full potential of the program has not been unlocked due to a number of policies that disincentivize airports and security companies from participating.


The Screening Partnership Reform Act would clear some of the bureaucratic red-tape surrounding the program in an attempt to unleash the full cost-saving benefits and further innovation within the SPP, while still safeguarding aviation security. In particular, it would:


  • Statutorily require TSA’s cost estimation process to account for total costs to the federal government


  • Give airport operators a role in selecting a private screening company for their airport


  • Allow private screening companies to conduct on-site training rather than traveling to a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center


  • Allow private screening companies to submit recommendations to TSA on new and innovative approaches to screening


  • Clarify ambiguities in hiring practices during transition from TSA to private screening


Screening Partnership Reform Act bill text



Air Traffic Control Safe Operations and Readiness Act


The Air Traffic Control Safe Operations and Readiness Act, or ATC SOAR Act, is designed to decrease the number of applicants that flunk out of the air traffic control academy.


In 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instituted hiring reforms that prioritized diversity quotas over experienced, qualified candidates through implementing a biographical questionnaire. When Congress prohibited the questionnaire in 2016, the FAA then put the biographical assessments into its Air Traffic Skill Assessment (AT-SA) test. The FAA does not report any information on how AT-SA is graded, and more specifically how the biographical questions factor into the overall score an applicant receives.


The ATC SOAR Act would restore common sense hiring practices to keep our skies safe and ensure that qualified, experienced controller candidates are prioritized. Specifically, the bill would:


  • Instruct the FAA to consider candidates for interviews based on their qualifications and their score on the AT-SA test


  • Instruct the FAA to revise the AT-SA test to only include peer-reviewed, job-relevant aptitude questions


  • Prohibit any biographical questions on the AT-SA test other than basic identifiers (first name, last name)


  • Require the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation to report to Congress an assessment of the test methodology, the aptitude questions, and the scoring methodology


Sen. Lee Introduces Drone Integration and Zoning Act

Mar 24, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) today introduced the Drone Integration and Zoning Act (DIZA), a bill to establish a regulatory framework for drones based on the principles of local governance and cooperative federalism.

Lee Joins Delegation to Mexico Urging Cooperation on Mutual Security Challenges

Mar 20, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) joined a U.S. delegation to Mexico focused on efforts to stop drug trafficking, curb illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, and address China's role in providing precursors for fentanyl production and laundering money for the cartels.

Sen. Lee Introduces Bill to Protect Vulnerable Immigrants

Mar 7, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Katie Britt (R-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Stopping Border Surges Act to address loopholes in our immigration system that encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States. The Stopping Border Surges Act includes reforms that would reduce unsustainable surges of aliens; strengthen our asylum process; eliminate the incentive to send children to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of coyotes and cartels.

Sen. Lee Cancels the Coin

Mar 3, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Cancel the Coin Act to prohibit the Treasury Secretary from minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin. Federal law does not currently limit the quantity or the individual face value of platinum coins the Treasury could mint and issue.

Lee Bill Makes Travelers Free as a Bird

Mar 2, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Fair Removal of Existing and Enforced Bans on Immunization Relating to Destination (FREEBIRD) Act to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate placed on international air visitors to the United States. Foreign travelers, including family members, friends, and business relations, are being kept off U.S. soil due to the air travel vaccine mandate, which remains for nonimmigrant, noncitizen foreign travelers. The United States is one of the only countries that still impose this mandate.

Japan Misses Deadline. Lee Calls for SOFA Renegotiation

Mar 1, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke on the Senate floor, calling for a renegotiation of the U.S.—Japan Status of Forces Agreement. On February 2, Sen. Lee demanded that Japanese Prime Minister Kishida transfer Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis to United States custody no later than February 28 by 11:59 P.M. EST. Sen. Lee promised a public discussion about the U.S.—Japan Status of Forces Agreement should Japan fail to transfer Lt. Alkonis before the deadline. Japan failed to transfer Lt. Ridge Alkonis to U.S. custody in time.

Sen. Lee Introduces Bill to Protect Ag Producers

Feb 28, 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) led a bipartisan effort to reform agricultural checkoff programs. Joined by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the bill will make checkoff programs more accountable to contributors.