Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) attended the signing ceremony of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act at the White House today. Both members of Congress and the President were joined by Laurie Dishman, a Sacramento, California resident and a constituent of Rep. Matsuis, who wrote to her Representative after being sexually assaulted on a cruise ship and asked for help.

This bill, authored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), received broad bipartisan support. As founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus, Rep. Poe was a cosponsor and strong advocate for this legislation.

Every year cruise line companies carry over 10 million Americans to and from American ports. The cruise lines promise Americans safety, security, fun, and relaxation aboard the ships. But as we have seen, safety is not something the cruise lines are always prepared to guarantee, said Poe.

The bill requires cruise ships to strengthen security measures and report alleged crimes. Some of the changes commercial travelers should expect to see are rails located no less than 42-inches above the cabin deck, peep holes on every cabin door, technology to detect whether a passenger has fallen overboard, video surveillance and time sensitive key technologies.

The bill also cracks down on crime. It requires all cruise vessels to maintain a supply of medications to prevent sexually transmitted disease after sexual assault, have equipment for conducting medical examination in case of a sexual assault, and have at least one medical staff worker certified in emergency, family practice or internal medicine on the vessel at all times.

Congressman Ted Poe serves on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and is founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus advocating on behalf of victims in Washington, DC.