May 16, 2018

On Anniversary of Amtrak Shooting, Duckworth and Hoeven Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Protections for Rail Crewmembers


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – On today’s one-year anniversary of the shooting of an Amtrak conductor in Naperville, Illinois, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve public safety and discourage violence aboard passenger trains. The Passenger Rail Crew Protection Parity Act would provide the same federal protections for airline crewmembers to passenger rail crewmembers, so that any assault or intimidation of a rail crewmember, including engineers, conductors and on-board service personnel, will be charged under federal law. Currently, any assault against a rail crewmember is adjudicated under the laws of the local jurisdiction where it is committed.

“No one in America should experience what Amtrak Conductor Michael Case endured while just doing his job. We are all entitled to work in a safe environment, one that is free from violence, harassment and intimidation,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be working with Senator Hoeven on this bipartisan legislation that will help better protect rail crewmembers and improve public safety.”

“Our bipartisan legislation will help provide the same protections to rail crewmembers that currently exist for airline crews,” said Hoeven. “This will help ensure that anyone who assaults or interferes with travel, whether by rail or in the air, is held to the same standard.”

Amtrak Conductor Michael Case spent 10 weeks in the hospital after being shot on May 16, 2017. This incident is one of 73 recorded assaults on Amtrak crewmembers since 2015.

"It was a year ago that SMART-TD member Michael Case was nearly killed, in a random act of violence, while performing his official duties as an Amtrak conductor,” said Robert Guy, State Director of the SMART-Transportation Division. “Given the interstate nature of passenger rail, it only makes sense to provide the same federal protections that aviation employees enjoy to employees in the passenger rail industry, and that's just what the Passenger Rail Crew Protection Parity Act would do. I want to thank Senators Duckworth and Hoeven for their commitment to rail safety and working to provide our members the federal protections they deserve."

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Duckworth is tasked with overseeing issues related to the nation’s transportation systems and infrastructure projects.