By Ryan Keller
Texas Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) on Monday prefiled House Bill 80 for voting on in the state legislature. The bill, also known as the Texas Travel Freedom Act, would make it illegal for agents of the TSA to perform pat down procedures at airports.
According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill “would make it a criminal act to intentionally touch ‘the anus, breast, buttocks, or sexual organ of the other person, including touching through clothing,’ without probable cause in the process of determining whether to grant someone access to a public venue or means of public transportation.”
There is also extra protection for minors under the bill:
A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he…removes a child younger than 18 years of age from the physical custody or control of a parent or guardian of the child or a person standing in the stead of a parent or guardian of the child.
Early last year, the state of Texas attempted to pass legislation that would have done the same thing as Simpson’s bill. HB 1937 had passed the state House and was on its way to the Senate when the federal government stepped in to make sure that the state submitted.
U.S. attorney John E. Murphy sent a letter to the state threatening to shut down the Texas airline industry:
If HR [sic] 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute. Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
This was followed by a night of intense debate within the Texas House of Representatives, which resulted in HB 1937 co-sponsor Dan Patrick (R-Houston) pulling the bill.
“I will pull HB 1937 down, but I will stand for Liberty in the state of Texas,” Patrick commented, adding that the possibility that the TSA “could close down all the airports in Texas” was a “heavy handed threat” by the federal government.
Perhaps Texas will have more luck this time around, as it seems more people are starting to embrace the idea of states’ rights, with more than half of the states petitioning President Obama to allow them to secede from the Union, with some citing the TSA as a reason for their grievances.