Wednesday, 04 May 2011

Texas Representative Gains Majority Support for TSA Bills

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Last November, voters sent a message to politicians — make some changes! So Texas State Representative David Simpson (pictured, left) took it to heart by taking on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with his immediate filing of three bills that will stop TSA abuses of air travelers if passed. May 4, Simpson’s office issued a press release about the status of these important bills, noting that it has attracted support from the majority of the Texas House. If successful in the Lone Star State, there’s a good chance other states will take heart and initiate similar laws. Alaska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, already have legislation pending to stop the TSA and other security agencies from violating travelers’ dignity.

Simpson’s press release reads in part:

This week several Texas Congressmen announced their support for State Rep. David Simpson’s legislation to rein in abuses by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  HB 1937, the most popular bill, is now endorsed by a majority of the Texas House. Over the past few months, a chorus of voices from both parties and all areas of the country have joined the call to defend travelers against overly invasive methods employed recently by the TSA, including “virtual strip searches” with whole-body scanners and intrusive groping searches of the whole body including genital areas.

Simpson’s bills have gained national attention from the Drudge Report, Fox News, MSNBC, Washington Post, Seattle Times, the Miami Herald, and The New American.

A majority of the Texas House (80) representatives have signed on as joint or co-authors of HB 1937, the most promising of the bills, which was voted on favorably by the Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. It is waiting placement on the General Calendar.

HB 1937 prohibits the used of indecent groping searches of a traveler’s private parts. Another of the three bills, HB 1938 prohibits the use of full body scanners that use backscatter x-rays or millimeter waves to create a visual image of a person’s unclothed body. Both bills give teeth to the ideas they outline by calling for fines against violators, and give state and local officials the authority to enforce the law and collect the fines.

Texas Congressmen Ron Paul said, “Texans are so sick and tired of an out-of-control TSA poking, prodding and violating us that they are demanding action. I applaud David Simpson for his leadership on this issue and enthusiastically endorse his efforts.”

Texas U.S. Congressmen John Carter and Louie Gohmert are also supporting the bills.

Simpson’s press release noted the recent incident that captured public attention when former Miss USA Susie Castillo was forced to endure a humiliating pat-down in Dallas.

Her experience is the latest in a long line of accounts of travelers who stood up to the TSA by telling their stories and resolving to fight back. Texans are hopeful that others will show support for these efforts, and put a stop to it. At least in the state that was once known for its unique brand of independence.

Since the Texas Legislative Session is scheduled to end  the end of May, many have kept the phones busy at the Capitol urging their representatives to support Simpson’s bill. Since the Texas Legislature convenes only every other year, this is the last chance they will have for a long time.

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