Texas TSA pat down ban may be back

Texas lawmakers may reconsider a bill to outlaw controversial airport pat-downs, the sponsor of legislation that was shelved recently said this week. 

Texas state Rep. David Simpson (R) said that Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst reportedly asked Gov. Rick Perry to include the measure in a special session of the Texas legislature. Dewhurst reported asked lawmakers to withdraw the bill when federal officials threatened to cancel flights to Texas if it passed. 

But he has since had a change of heart, Simpson told fans on his Facebook page. 

{mosads}”The Lt. Gov. sent a letter to Gov. Perry asking him to include the TSA bill HB 1937 in the special session!,” Simpson wrote on the website. “Please call the Governor and tell him you agree with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst!” 

The measure would make it a misdemeanor for TSA agents would have been to pat down travelers who did not have probable cause for suspicion. The penalty would be a $4,000 fine and one year in jail.

If it is approved, it would be the first state law restricting TSA’s security techniques.

Simpson sharply criticized the Department of Justice for threatening to respond to the bill, comparing it to the Texas Revolution.

“175 years ago in the first battle of the Texas Revolution against Mexico, a small band of Texans stood in defiance at Gonzalez, turning back the attempt to deprive them of their weapon of defense, a single cannon,” he wrote in a letter to Perry, Dewhurst, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Attorney General Gregg Abbott.

“Gentlemen, we find ourselves at such a watershed moment today,” Simpson continued. “The federal government is attempting to deprive the citizens of Texas of their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution. If we do not stand for our citizens in the face of this deprivation of their personal rights and dignity, who will?”

TSA has continued to argue the proposed legislation is unconstitutional, saying it would be nullified by the supremacy clause of the U.S. constitution.

A measure similar to the Texas bill has been introduced in Utah.



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