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Special Session Demanded

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The Texas Republican Freedom Coalition has requested that Gov. Rick Perry call for a special session in order to pass House Bill 1937, the so-called anti-groping bill.

HB 1937 passed the Texas House of Representatives with a unanimous voice vote; however, its Senate counterpart was withdrawn under pressure from the Transportation Security Administration.

Had this bill passed both houses of the state legislature and the Governor signed it, it would have made it illegal under state law for TSA security to touch a passenger’s private parts during random searches at the airport without probable cause. After a letter from the federal Department of Justice threatening to shut down Texas air traffic was circulated in response to the bill’s imminent passage into law, the Texas Senate did not bring the bill to a vote.

Press reports indicated that Gov. Perry was ready to sign the bill if it passed both the Texas House and Senate.

"The fact is, every time you buy an airline ticket, the federal government runs a background check on you. They know who you are before you board the plane,’ says RFC advisory board member Paul Perry. "Your luggage is already X-rayed. Your body is generally X-rayed to a level with which many people are already uncomfortable. HB 1937 is a well-crafted and narrowly focused bill which would simply outlaw the most unconstitutional and objectionable actions of the TSA."

This bill, written by freshman House member and RFC advisory board member David Simpson, dealt with the most controversial act of the TSA, the searching of the private parts of many individuals – the groping, including of children and passengers in wheelchairs.

While not every airline traveler is subject to these searches without cause, outrageous actions have been thoroughly documented. A 78-year-old lady who was carrying an FAA-approved oxygen bottle and therefore couldn't go through the normal X-ray machine was searched most thoroughly. An 82-year-old lady who cannot stand or walk long enough to go through the normal procedure was intimately searched in her wheelchair. Six-year-old boys and girls and at least one baby have been groped and abused, according to Youtube documentaries.

Federal transportation groping includes moving gloved hands inside all layers of travelers’ clothing. It also has been widely reported that agents do not change gloves between searches, leading to a risk of passing parasites or disease.

Tuesday night, the TSA released a letter from the federal Department of Justice claiming that if the Texas Senate joined the state House and this bill became law in Texas, the federal government might have to shut down all commercial air traffic in Texas in order to keep citizens safe.

"Only an over-fatigued or cowardly politician could really believe this threat," says RFC executive director Wes Riddle. "DFW International Airport is a major international hub, not just a large regional airport. Houston Intercontinental is a large airport and also a port of entry."

Shutting down just these two airports would have an immeasurable effect on air traffic throughout the United States, as well as the national economy, argues the RFC. It would be a politically indefensible move.

The RFC urges the citizens of Texas not to allow its senators to be fooled by empty threats, to protect their constitutional rights, and to insist that their legislators protect them from random gropings. stated RFC board member Don Zimmerman. Remember the words of Ben Franklin: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Call for a special session. The Governor’s phone number is 512-463-2000.

 


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