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Texas becomes first state to ban 'intrusive' TSA security pat downs

 
 
 
 
 
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Texas has become the first state to ban intrusive airport security pat downs.

The bill, passed late last night, aims to make touching travellers in an ‘inappropriate’ way during searches a criminal offence.

The measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting pat-downs to touch ‘the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person’ including through clothing.

It also prohibits searches ‘that would be offensive to a reasonable person.’

‘This (bill) has to do with dignity and travel, and prohibiting indecent, groping searches,’ Republican Representative David Simpson, the bill’s chief sponsor said.

He believes it will keep TSA officials from treating travellers like criminals.

The Senate is yet to act on the bill however meaning the measure could be superseded by federal law of which the TSA is governed by.

‘It’s a way of getting attention and objecting to the intrusiveness of the search procedures,’ Alan Rosenthal, professor of public policy at Rutgers University in New Jersey told USA Today.

‘But I don’t think any of that could pre-empt federal requirements.’

New Jersey is one of three other states to introduce similar legislation but is yet to pass its own bill.

Similarly in New Hampshire a proposed bill, that would make the ‘touching or viewing of a person’s breasts or genitals’ by airport security staff a sexual assault, is still languishing at the committee stage.

The bill’s co-sponsor Representative Andrew Manuse, has been very vocal about the aggressive nature of the TSA pat-downs and controversial full-body scanners.

‘Let’s put their name on the sex offender registry, and maybe that will tell them New Hampshire means business,’ Mr Manuse said in governor meeting earlier this year.

Hawaii has also introduced legislation for a possible ban, while other states are calling on the TSA to re-think its screening strategies.

Alaska passed such a resolution in March and similar resolutions have been introduced in six other states.

The TSA has been dogged by controversy and outcry since it began a more aggressive pat-down procedure in October and introduced full-body scanners that leave little to the imagination.

Just this week a disturbing photograph which shows a baby being subjected to a full-body search by airport security caused outrage when it was posted online.

The shocking photograph comes just a month after the TSA were widely condemned after footage emerged of a six-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy being subjected to the searches in separate incidents at airports across America.

The agency says it has been ‘actively reviewing its screening policies and procedures to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.’

A TSA spokesman told MailOnline: ‘It is not TSA’s policy to not discuss or comment on pending legislation.’

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  • Fisher1949

    Finally, some principled and decent legislators are taking action to rein in this abusive and corrupt agency.

    TSA Director Pistole says TSA conducts “very few” pat downs, only 3% of passengers. Very few? Based on their estimates, they conduct over 50,000 pat downs per day, the equivalent of the entire population of Ames, Iowa.

    There have been 21 screeners arrested in five months for job related crimes, including drug trafficking, theft, raping a 14 year old and two weeks ago for distributing child porn. Now they get to grope small children and babies and it is legal.

    Twenty one criminal acts, eighteen security failures, 4,000+ groping complaints and dozens of lawsuits, all in five months, but TSA hasn’t stopped one incident in nine years. Fortunately, some people and lawmakers are beginning to realize that they are being misled by TSA’s paranoia.

    TSA consistently fails to detect weapons passing through security while insisting that they need to grope 50,000 passenger each day to ensure airline safety. It is unimaginable that anyone would find it reasonable to have a stranger fondle their genitals in public as a condition of flying. There are laws in every jurisdiction that prohibits this type behavior since it violates basic social norms and human rights. Of course, there are also laws protecting citizens from the sort of voyeurism the scanners make possible, yet these both of these standards are conveniently ignored “out of an abundance of caution”.

    Those who believe that the behavior of this bloated and self-serving agency is making flying safe are clearly ignoring an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. How many failures, crimes and abuses must this agency commit before Congress demands their reform?

    TSA is violating the Constitution on a daily basis, not improving security whatsoever and yet uninformed sheep and cowards among us endorse this abuse. TSA is a larger threat to American safety and liberty than Al Qaeda. Perhaps those who support these criminals feel safer, the rest of us don’t.

  • Bob

    Yeah. I contacted all the Iowa congressional reps. Their response? We don’t have anything to do with the TSA. We’re not on the transportation committee. Grrrrrr.

  • janet

    Yes, the pat downs and radiation are totally ridiculous. This whole TSA was just another not needed federal agency that the politicians have crammed down our throats. Another bloated beaurocracy. 13 agents at the gate where I boarded my plane. 9 of them just standing around. 13 agents for one planeload of people. Stupid.

  • Mike

    I think they should go back to pre 9/11 security at airports. Last time I flew was when I came back from Europe while in the Army. They have police with submachine guns that’s a pretty good dererent. But we in America are supposed to be living in a free country. Unfortunately its not any more.

  • GamerFromJump

    Good for Texas! Everyone take their flights out of Dallas to show your support.

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