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Will overtime and K9s shorten airport lines? MN leaders want more screeners

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Since the waits to get through the new security checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport started chewing up an hour or more of travelers' time, complaints from airport officials and political leaders have taken off quickly.

So this week, representatives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told the commission that runs the airport about their plans to address the problem.

As MPR News reported, the key elements are: approving overtime hours for security screeners; sending a bomb-sniffing K-9 team to the Twin Cities; and wrapping up the retraining of staff, so that workers can spend their time instead of training.

But that response is not flying with the state's top elected officials, who say what's needed is more bodies in uniform staffing the checkpoints.

https://twitter.com/SenFranken/status/707642390954307584

Sen. Al Franken is the latest to write a letter underscoring the seriousness of the issue. He urged the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to come up with money to hire more TSA for screeners.

The CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission noted in his letter to the TSA last week that compared to 2011 there are 10 percent more travelers but 15 percent fewer screeners at MSP.

https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/707092489719644160

Congress reduced and capped the number of TSA screeners in a cost-cutting move, the Associated Press reports. But Franken's fellow Minnesota Democrat, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, is frustrated that the agency is operating below that cap.

The Star Tribune reports the TSA is authorized to hire 42,500 screeners but has 1,500 fewer than that. Klobuchar notes that even as that shortfall is corrected, it will take time to train the new hires. "...Clearly we [Minnesota] were being short-shrifted here during this transition,” she told the newspaper.

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