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Titus bill requiring multilingual signage at U.S. airports advances

WASHINGTON — A bill that would require signs, websites and instructions at McCarran International and other U.S. airport be duplicated in foreign languages was passed by a House committee on Tuesday by a unanimous vote.

The House Homeland Security Committee approved the bill filed by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., to require the Transportation Security Administration to provide multilingual airport materials. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

In filing the legislation, Titus noted that many foreign travelers to destinations like Las Vegas come from countries where English is not their first language.

She noted that the bill also would require the TSA to come up with a way to better communicate with those with vision or hearing impairment.

“Visitors are eager to return to Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is working hard to welcome them back quickly and safely,” Titus said in a statement.

Nevada and Las Vegas were hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic that essentially closed the international travel and tourism industries and cut the 50 million travelers who typically pass through McCarran each year in half.

Titus said passenger numbers have increased this year at McCarran, and are expected to rise again following President Joe Biden’s announcement that vaccinated foreign travelers will be allowed into the United States beginning on Nov. 8.

Cost to provide signs and materials in other languages would have a negligible cost impact, according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, who examined a similar bill in the last Congress.

In addition to aiding foreign travelers, Titus said signs in other languages would benefit U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Nearly 66 million people in this country speak a language other than English at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

An estimated 34 percent of the residents in Clark County speak another language than English, Titus said.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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