View Full Version : U.S. Issues Feds threaten to shut down airports if law passed

05-27-2011, 02:57 PM
I guess I understand the TSA feels this would cause a threat to other airports for flights leaving Texas but it still feels like another federal overreach.

Senate fight erupts over ‘airport groping’ bill
By Mike Ward | Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 09:18 PM

Passage of a bill that would prohibit “intrusive touching” at security checkpoints at airports and other public buildings was derailed tonight in the Texas Senate, after federal officials threatened to possibly close airports if the measure became law.

An angry state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the Senate sponsor, accused Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of working against his bill while Patrick was urging its passage.

“This was a come and take it vote,” Patrick said, saying federal officials have threatened to sue the state and close airports if the bill passed. “This was a case of the lieutenant governor getting bullied by the federal government.”

He then withdrew House Bill 1937 from further consideration, and walked off the Senate floor. He later declared the bill dead.

Later, Patrick said he had 30 votes for the bill when he began debating its passage, but several senators told him they could no longer vote for it — without reason — as Dewhurst milled around the floor talking to senators.

“I’ve never seen the lieutenant governor work against a bill as a senator was trying to pass it,” Patrick said. “This bill was about standing up for the people of Texas … I have a feeling that Rick Perry would not have been here working against this bill.”

Patrick said the bill was designed to prevent security screeners from touching the genitals and other private areas of people who go through the checkpoints.

“Only two percent of the people are subjected to these searches,” Patrick said. “This is a good bill to protect Texans from unreasonable searches.”

Mike Walz, a spokesman for Dewhurst, said Dewhurst allowed the bill to be debated because Patrick said he had the votes to pass it. When the debate started, Walz said, Dewhurst’s notifier board on the podium “lit up” with senators wondering why the bill had been allowed to come up in light of federal concerns about its legality.

Walz said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, had lined up 12 senators to block the debate, and that’s why senators informed Patrick they could no longer vote for the bill.

Watson acknowledged he had worked against the bill.

“No one wants anyone’s privacy violated, but when we received the letter from the (U.S. Department of Justice) it became very clear that this bill may have not been completely thought through.”

In recent months, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began deploying federally funded units of advanced-imaging technology in airports around the country. That has caused many travelers to opt for individual searches in which federal security screeeners search the traveler’s entire body — which may include reaching up under clothing and touching the private parts of the body.

It has been reported that individuals with disabilities have suffered the degradation of having to remove prosthetics, having the seals on urine bags broken, and being detained while wheelchairs and crutches are scrutinized.

Patrick said the bill seeks to address these issues by classifying certain invasive and inappropriate conduct used in certain searches as official oppression, a crime under Texas law.

Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, challenged the bill as challenging federal security rules that are designed to protect the public in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

In a letter delivered to legislative leaders on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney John Murphy warned that the legislation, if passed, would “criminalize searches that are required under federal regulations” and would “conflict directly with federal law.”

“Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law,” Murphy said in the letter, saying the federal government would seek a court order to prevent enforcement of the law if passed.

Until that occurred, “TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of the passengers and crew.”

Patrick said Texas should have stood up against that veiled threat.

“This was a come and take it vote,” Patrick said.


05-27-2011, 03:41 PM
I'd really like to see this happen. yes it would suck if you're dependent on air travel in or through the state of Texas.....but if the airports were in fact shut down because this law passed, the backlash against congress and the federal govt would be enormous.

05-27-2011, 06:59 PM
If your wife has nothing to hide then why not let a TSA goon slip in a couple of fingers?

Pitt Gorilla
05-27-2011, 09:04 PM
I'd really like to see this happen. yes it would suck if you're dependent on air travel in or through the state of Texas.....but if the airports were in fact shut down because this law passed, the backlash against congress and the federal govt would be enormous.Not really.

05-27-2011, 09:07 PM
Not really.

Everythings bigger in Tejas, including the riots! I would like to see this happen.

05-28-2011, 08:28 PM
Texas needs to stand tall on this issue. Give 'em Hell , Texans.

05-28-2011, 11:29 PM
Looks like they didn't grab the bull by the horns.