Contact: Michael Maharrey
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For Immediate Release: June 29, 2011
Texas TSA anti-groping bill dead; fight just beginning
AUSTIN, Texas (June 29) – Last ditch efforts to save a bill that would restrict the TSA’s ability to conduct invasive pat-downs in the Lone Star State failed Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday evening, the Texas Senate ignored an amended House bill that lowered the threshold TSA agents would have to meet from “probable cause” to “reasonable suspicion” and passed its own version of the anti-groping legislation (SB29) 19-11. Senators promptly adjourned, leaving representatives just one day to consider the legislation.
The House passed the second reading of the Senate bill 106-27, with 16 representatives absent Wednesday morning.
But with the end of the special session looming, House members had to vote to suspend the Texas Constitution’s three day reading rule and allow a second vote on SB29 later in the day. Several representatives left after the second reading, and the vote to suspend the rules fell short of the 4/5 majority needed on a 96-26 vote.
Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said lawmakers failed in their obligation to interpose and protect Texas citizens from federal overreach.
“It’s a state’s duty to stop the TSA, because the TSA is never going to stop itself.”
TAC communications director Mike Maharrey expressed frustration with the political games played by some Texas lawmakers, but remained optimistic, noting the proposed legislation put the TSA issue in the national spotlight.
“This bill jump-started the debate. We may have lost this battle, but it’s just the first salvo in the war,” he said. “The American people are sick to death of standing around in their socks at the airport while blue-shirted agents grope their children and grandmothers. These people aren’t making us safer. They are stealing our dignity, along with our constitutional rights. This isn’t the last you will hear on this issue.”
In fact, Utah and Pennsylvania recently introduced bills similar to the Texas legislation, and sources close to the TAC indicate 10 more states will likely join the cause in the next year.
Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center state chapter coordinator Steve Palmer said the failure in Texas ups the ante in the Keystone State.
“The defeat of the TSA legislation in Texas makes passage of Pennsylvania’s HB852 all the more critical,” he said. “It would be nice if we could stand on the sidelines and let Texas and the other states defend us, but it is now clear that Pennsylvania must act to preserve our own Liberty and dignity — or else lose them.”
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The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.