Thursday, March 03, 2011

More news on the TSA - from Texas

I don't typically post information regarding proposed legislation at the state level - too often any such bills are unsupported and even more often, they are designed to incite emotional reactions. Lots of these bills are posted online and it is not hard to find them spoken about on blogs, but then the legislation goes nowhere.

I suspect the following post is of that nature - but it supports my own take on airport screening, and I think there is legal standing for this inn the constitution.  I wish somebody would take this to the Supreme Court for review - even with the conservative court, based on their ruling within the past few days over the right to free speech in the Westboro Baptist Church case, I think that they'd rule that the TSA screenings are unconstitutional.

Texas Legislation Proposes Felony Charges for TSA Agents
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Written by: Michael Maharrey

cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center

Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) introduced a package of bills into the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday that would challenge the TSA’s authority in a number of ways. The first bill, HB 1938, prohibits full body scanning equipment in any Texas airport and provides for criminal and civil penalties on any airport operator who installs the equipment. The second bill, HB 1937, criminalizes touching without consent and searches without probable cause.

HB 1938 reads in part:

(b) An airport operator may not allow body imaging scanning equipment to be installed or operated in any airport in this state.

(c) An airport operator commits an offense if the operator fails to comply with Subsection (b).

(d) An airport operator who commits an offense under Subsection (c) is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each day of the violation.

HB 1937 includes the following:

(3) as part of a search performed to grant access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(A) searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and

(B) touches the anus, sexual organ, or breasts of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.

(f) …. An offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a state jail felony.

Both bills empower the Texas Attorney General to bring suit in court.

The TSA will likely challenge such a law, but the Texas legislature stands on solid ground. Local governments control airports and no enumerated power in the Constitution gives the federal government the authority to regulate them. Under the Tenth Amendment, airport operation falls under state jurisdiction.

TSA regulations allow for passengers to refuse the body scans, but they must instead submit to an intrusive full-body pat down. This package addresses both issues. The HB 1938 legislation addresses the physical installation of full-body scans, and HB 1937 addresses the problematic constitutional issues of TSA security screening procedures. Random full-body scans and pat downs in the absence of probable cause arguably violates the Fourth Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…

1 comment:

jt said...

Its about time a bill is introduced to restore our Constitutional right that Nero Obama is slowly trying to take away. These bozos are using security issues of other countries to take our rights away. The policies have nothing to do with combating terrorism, rather to control the people. If it was about security, we would secure our boarders and profile. Its time we all stand up and take our country back from the power hungry politicians that want to control every aspect of our lives. Anyone familiar with the fall of the Roman Empire can see we are on the same path, just moving quicker. Don't think this country can fall? Ask the ancient Romans what they think. On the plus side, if you don't have health insurance, go to airport and get free x-ray, breast, and groin exam.