Lone Star Report Recent Blog Posts

Jun 16

Written by: Andy Hogue
6/16/2011 4:56 PM  RssIcon

While the Governor hasn't placed a bill to criminalize TSA's "advanced pat-down" procedures on the special session's agenda, much progress is being made by supporters.

On Tuesday, HB 41, authored by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), was reported favorably out of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. The vote was unanimous, and would meet at least 111 supporters (co-authors) on the floor of the House chamber.

HB 41 is the resurrection of HB 1937 from the regular session, which cleared the House floor but was not taken up in the Senate following threats by Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) representatives and a federal judge.

In the other chamber, Senate sponsor Dan Patrick (R-Houston) announced he had enough votes to secure a victory for HB 41. In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Patrick expressed hopes the governor would consider the bill.

"I have polled the members of the Senate on Senate Bill 29 [the Senate's companion to HB 41] in an effort to bring the TSA anti-groping bill back to the floor," Patrick wrote.

"As of today [Wednesday], I have the votes to pass it. I hope that with the support of Lieutenant Governor [David] Dewhurst and the coauthorship of more than one hundred State Representatives, this legislation will be added to the call of this special session."

Earlier this month, Dewhurst, in a letter to Perry, recommended Perry add the anti-TSA-groping bill to the special session call.

Also this week, the chairman of a major state agency condemned the TSA's groping procedure.

Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Public Utility Commission, told KTBC-TV, "FOX 7" (see raw interview clip below), that he was pulled out of the line to a standard metal detector to instead go through a full-body scanning machine. This was at the discretion of a TSA worker, he said.

Smitherman said he was leaving from New Orleans en route to Austin. "Fortunately I got there early," he said.

"The TSA agent goes 'Opt out, opt out! We've got an opt out! -- calling everyone's attention to me," he said, of the ordeal.

After what he called an "aggressive" pat-down in public, and a search of his baggage one item at a time (even one asprin pill at a time, he said) he asked why the laborious search.

"You're punishing me for opting out, aren't you? And to her credit she said 'Yes we are.'" Smitherman said. "I said 'Thank you for your honesty.'"

Smitherman said he was "still feeling the effects" of the pat-down while seated on the flight back to Austin.

Also in the video, Rep. Barbara Nash (R-Arlington) shares her experience with the advanced pat-down. She said it was "a little inappropriate" and "very disrespectful" -- especially after teaching children that there are certain places no stranger should be allowed to touch.


UPDATE: (9:51 a.m. Monday)
Gov. Rick Perry, when approached by an activist (wearing a wire, apparently) at a book-signing over the weekend, said that there were not enough votes to pass HB 41 in the special session. 

Perry was signing copies of his book "Fed Up!" at the Republican Leadership Conerence in New Orleans on Saturday.

When told that there may indeed be enough votes (at least according to Sen. Dan Patrick), Perry then said that there was not enough time in the special session to get it through. Below is the video of Perry and Wesley Strackbein of the Web site "TSA Tyranny" (note: LSR is not endorsing a position by posting this video). 

4 comment(s) so far...

Why millions of Americans are willing to forfeit their 4th Amendment rights to be secure in their person is beyond me. If any police officer, who pulled you over for a busted headlight, tried this, he would be drummed out of the force, yet we allow low paid ($12-14/hr) TSA people to do what we would never allow a police officer to do without being arrested.

I can only hope that Texas, once again, leads the nation is taking back our civil liberties that were promised to us in our Constitution.

By retire05 on   6/20/2011 9:36 AM

If Perry wants to be a national leader, he'll give the special session a chance to vote on the anti-Thug/Scum/Assault bill.

If he doesn't have what it takes to lead this troubled nation on a national level, I'd rather find out now than after he's muddied the waters during the 2012 presidential election, or worse - elected president.

Perry can "Put up or shut up!" as far as I'm concerned. He either protects our 4th Amendment Rights now or looks for a nice, quiet place to retire.

I'm tired of politicians who talk the talk but will not walk the walk.

By Elizabeth Conley on   6/20/2011 9:36 AM

I testified on behalf of HB1937 when it was before the House Jurisprudence Committee in March. I was delighted to see all the support it had as it moved through the House and on to the Senate. I was sorely disappointed when the Senate faltered and backed down at the threats from the Federal Government. I fervently hope the Governor will add HB41 and SB29 to the special session call. Let Texas be the first to put this to the test! If the Feds want to embargo flights in and out of Texas so be it. Then the airlines will get involved, because it will affect their bottom line. Remember, it's all about the money after all.

By Glenda Hawthorne on   6/20/2011 9:36 AM

Please take part in the StandWithWayne Passive Resistance effort over the 4th of July. Simply OPT OUT of the scanner and request a Pat Down. Slow down the process and delay gate departures. Inconvenient yes, but this is a battle for personal liberty we can’t afford to lose!

By wayne richard on   6/20/2011 9:36 AM
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