6/21/2011 2:52 PM
After Gov. Rick Perry added "official oppression" by transportation and public building security to the special session call Monday evening, there was some question as to how earnest an effort would be made toward passing a bill -- or if there was any time left for it.
But today, a Texas Senate committee scheduled SB 29 (Sen. Dan Patrick's anti-TSA-groping bill) for a hearing, and the House recommitted HB 41 (Rep. David Simpson's bill) back to committee to remove any probable points of order.
It's serious business.
Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) set SB 29 for a hearing in the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security committee for 2 p.m. Thursday. The House bill, though it cleared the House Criminal and Jurisprudence committee on June 14, now must be heard again.
The bills would likely have to be taken up on the floor by Friday at the earliest to satisfy the House timeline for new legislation. As of the time of writing, HB 41 is set for Friday's general House calendar for second reading.
The House has a supermajority of co-sponsors for HB 41 -- 112 of them, according to Simpson, and from both parties. Patrick said in a letter to Perry that a majority of Senators are backing SB 29. So raising support may not be the issue this time around (though a strongly-worded letter from a United States Attorney and visits from TSA officials derailed support in the Senate on a key deadline day during the regular session). Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had expressed his support for Perry's call in a press statement Monday evening.
Meanwhile, Simpson is elated that his bill has been given the greenlight by Perry.
“This is a significant step forward for the people of Texas—for their dignity and liberty,” Simpson said in a press release. “Thousands of Texans are grateful that Governor Perry has taken the lead in defending the 4th Amendment rights of all of our citizens.
“Sam Houston said that ‘Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may. While Washington is content to ignore the Constitution and trample on innocent travelers’ rights and dignity, we in Texas will not stand idly by.”