Agents admit forceful pat-downs were conducted when officials opted out from body scanners
As the resurrected TSA anti-groping bill cleared the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, and gathered enough support to pass both chambers, Texas state officials have recounted disturbing stories that highlight how the TSA is using forceful pat-downs as a form of “punishment” to those who opt out of the full body scanners.
“Let me put this delicately. I was still feeling the effects of the pat-down as I sat in my seat from New Orleans to Houston, and then Houston to Austin.” Chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission Barry Smitherman told Fox 7 News.
Smitherman described the groping as “aggressive” and recounted an admission by a TSA supervisor that he was being “punished” for opting out.
Texas State Rep. Barbara Nash also told Fox 7 that a TSA agent “moved my legs apart and went up my legs, all the way up, and then she made me stand a different way where she could go all the way up the front., and then all the way up the back of my dress.”
State Rep. David Simpson, who sponsored the original anti-groping bill, House bill 1937, noted “This is a sexual assault in any other activity. If that happened right now, it would be sexual assault.”
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HB 1937, the regular session bill banning TSA groping, cleared the House floor but was not taken up in the Senate following threats to effectively implement a no fly zone over the entirety of Texas by TSA officials and a federal judge.
However, the bill was was refiled in the special session: Senate Bill 29, authored by Senator Dan Patrick, and House Bill 41 authored by Rep. David Simpson, as well as 112 co-sponsors (out of 150 Reps.) .
HB 41 was cleared Unanimously by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the dignity of Texas travelers, including women and children, is now in the hands of Governor Rick Perry, who must call for the bill to be addressed on the House floor.
Senator Patrick declared this week that he has gathered enough support, 18 out of 31 Senators, to successfully pass HB 41. In a letter to Perry, Patrick urged the Governor to consider the bill.
“I have polled the members of the Senate on Senate Bill 29 [the Senate's companion to HB 41] in an effort to bring the TSA anti-groping bill back to the floor,” Patrick wrote.
“As of today [Wednesday], I have the votes to pass it. I hope that with the support of Lieutenant Governor [David] Dewhurst and the coauthorship of more than one hundred State Representatives, this legislation will be added to the call of this special session.”
Call Perry’s office TODAY! (512) 463-2000