Skip to main content

Texas House Passes Bill Against TSA "Groping"

Texas lawmakers have a message for Transportation Security Administration: hands off. The House passed a bill today that would prohibit invasive searches and pat-downs at airport security or other public buildings.

Lead image for this article

Texas lawmakers have a message for Transportation Security Administration: hands off. The House passed a bill today that would prohibit invasive searches and pat-downs at airport security or other public buildings.

The legislation would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.” 

Supporters say it's aimed at stopping the TSA from “treating innocent travelers like criminals” — but detractors say it could also affect the ability of federal agents in charge of security at any public building to do their jobs. Because the bill allows public servants to legally defend themselves if they are acting under federal authority, they also say it would be impossible to actually prosecute agents accused of groping when they are searching for bombs or weapons.

The bill has 90 co-authors in the House, some of whom reneged support for a brief time after author David Simpson, R-Longview, bumped veteran Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s “puppy mill” bill off the Local and Consent calendar. 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today