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TX ‘NO GROPE’ BILL BACK ON!


Gov. Rick Perry in New York City – AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Gov. Rick Perry announced he had added legislation that would make it illegal for TSA agents to engage in “intrusive touching” at airports security checkpoints without probable cause to the list of items for the legislature to consider during the special session.

The measure had previously failed to pass in the Texas Senate after the Justice Department wrote a scathing memo against the bill that threatened legal action against the state and the bill became enmeshed in Senate politics.

There are questions about what affect the legislation might have since airport security is a federal matter.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was accused of lobbying against the bill in May said he was “pleased” by Perry’s decision.

“I’m very pleased that Governor Perry agreed to add this legislation to his Special Session call,” Dewhurst said. “Addressing unreasonable and unlawful searches of innocent travelers by some TSA employees is an issue that affects all Texans who use air travel, and it should not wait until next Session.”

Before the Senate took up the bill initially, the Justice Department sent a letter to state advising that passage of the bill would result in immediate legal action by the federal government and that it could result in airline flights to and from Texas being delayed or cancelled.

Opponents of the bill used it as ammunition to stall the bill. Patrick blamed Dewhurst for the unexpected opposition and claimed Dewhurst was openly lobbying Senators against the bill. Dewhurst said that Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, had told him there were 12 Senators against the bill, enough to block it from coming up for consideration.

The day after, Patrick slammed Dewhurst.

“Apparently, for political reasons… he came up with this elaborate political play to kill the bill without his fingerprints,” Patrick said, speaking to the drama over the anti-airport pat downs bill that failed yesterday.

When asked about how would affect his relationship with Dewhurst, he paused for a while before answering the question.

“I have to ask myself,” Patrick said, before trailing off again.

Shortly after making those comments, Patrick announced that he would explore entering the U.S. Senate race and challenge Dewhurst’s bid to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

 

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