Legislation to increase penalties for an airport security breach has been signed into law, New Jersey Today reports. The bill was inspired by the 2010 incident at Newark Liberty International Airport involved a 28-year-old graduate student who slipped under a security ribbon to kiss his girlfriend goodbye after a guard briefly left his post. The terminal was shut down for six hours afterward.
He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and a $658 fine, but someone who did the same thing under the new law could face up to 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine, the article reports.
The new law establishes the crime of entering into restricted airport property in violation of federal security requirements. It sets forth two restricted areas on public airports:
- A “sterile area” – any portion of an airport that provides passengers to boarding aircraft and to which access is generally controlled by the Transportation Security Administration, an aircraft operator or an air carrier through the screening of persons and property;
- An “operational area” – any portion of a public airport from which access by the public is prohibited by fences or appropriate signs.