This was released yesterday by the office of Rep. David Simpson. Later in the day, the Texas House Transportation Committee voted unanimously in favor of HB 1938, the Scanner bill, thus moving the legislation even farther forward!
TEXAS TSA LEGISLATION ATTRACTS CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT, MAJORITY OF TEXAS HOUSE
US Congressmen and 80 Texas State Representatives Call for Defense of Traveler Dignity Against TSA Abuses
(Austin) – 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.
“Our citizens are forced to undergo unconscionable procedures at the hands of the TSA. The fact that someone is traveling is not justification to submit them to humiliating and unconstitutional invasions of their privacy. I am glad to support the efforts of Rep. David Simpson and his co-authors in the Texas Legislature to stop the TSA’s abuses,” said Congressman John Carter.
Congressman Louie Gohmert addressed personal privacy and security concerns. “Texas State Representative David Simpson is taking a stand for the people of Texas. Security is essential when traveling; however, airport full body scans invade very personal privacy bounds without a warrant, without probable cause, are offensive, and yet would not even detect some dangerous things. It is important that we balance individual privacy and security. Rep. Simpson is simply trying to address the issue and I applaud him for his effort.”
Congressman Ron Paul also joined in support. “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.”
National attention was focused on TSA overreach again this past week when former Miss USA Susie Castillo recounted her undignified experience at the hands of a TSA agent during a full-body pat down. Across the country momentum is building to oppose “security” methods that are overly intrusive and largely ineffective. To this point nine states, including Alaska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, have legislation pending to reign in the TSA and other security agencies from violating travelers’ dignity.
80 Representatives—a majority of the House—have signed on as joint or co-authors of HB 1937. HB 1937 has been favorably reported out of the Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and is awaiting placement on the General Calendar. HB 1938 received exclusively favorable testimony in the Committee on Transportation and is awaiting a vote.
HB 1937 would prohibit the use of indecent groping searches of a traveler’s private parts. HB 1938 would prohibit 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 provide exceptions for probable cause or express informed consent. Fines would be imposed against violators and state and local authorities would be given authority to enforce the law and to collect the fines.