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House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls 366

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-to-work-bill dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved a bill that would ban voice calls from mobile devices on airplanes. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Similar efforts are underway in the Senate. There was no opposition to Shuster's bill in the House committee, and the FCC received a flood of support for such a measure when they asked for public comment. In an op-ed published Monday, Shuster wrote, "In today’s world, enriched as it is by technology, we are bombarded by data, opinions, and potential distractions. Few limits to this flow of information are necessary, partly because people can typically turn it off, disconnect from it, or go elsewhere if they choose. But in the close confines of an airplane cabin – where passengers will still be able to use their mobile devices for texting, emailing, working, and more – there is no chance to opt out. So for those few hours of flight spent with 150 strangers, we can all wait to make that phone call. It’s just common sense and common courtesy."
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House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls

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  • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:15PM (#46222149)

    > yet they've had airline phones for years.

    You can still use those phones:

    "`(B) LIMITATION- The term `mobile communications device' does not include a phone installed on an aircraft.'." -- Bill Text [loc.gov]

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:20PM (#46222851)
    The Federal government only has authority over "Aircraft safety" on the basis already given above. They actually (legally, Constitutionally) have authority only over interstate commerce. Theoretically, they should have no authority over in-state flights AT ALL.

    They have used the commerce clause as an excuse to regulate just about everything imaginable under the sun, but I will repeat: that doesn't mean they really have genuine, lawful authority over it. Constitutional scholars are generally in agreement that the commerce clause was never intended to give the Feds the kind of authority SCOTUS claimed in Wickard v. Filburn.
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:30PM (#46222927)

    "Congress can, under its deliberately broad Constitutional power to regulate commerce, regulate the fsck out of airlines."

    The power to regulate commerce was not "deliberately broad" at all. On the contrary, it was deliberately narrow. Your source doesn't know his history worth a damn.

    Framers didn't intend their intent to be a guide, huh? (Your source's argument.) Not only is that a blatant logical contradiction all by itself, it is contrary to actual historical fact. Let me give you a quote from one of those very framers:

    "The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it." -- James Wilson"

    Further, the 1798 Act your "unreasonable man" mentions did in fact happen. But among other errors, he says it was government-funded, but it was NOT. It was an insurance policy paid for by those sailors' own wages. You can find this out in 30 seconds by reading about it in Wikipedia. So much for his scholarship.

    To put it bluntly, the "unreasonable man" doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

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