Making matters even more interesting is the fact that two state officials - Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission and Barbara Nash, a state rep. - have their own personal horror stories to tell.
Via the New American:
High-ranking Texas officials groped by agents with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are sounding off about the scandal in the press, adding more pressure on state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Perry to resurrect a bill criminalizing the invasive measures without probable cause. In May, it appeared likely that the Texas anti-groping legislation would succeed. After unanimously sailing through the state House of Representatives, the bill was on its way to passage in the Texas Senate. Originally it had more than enough support to pass.This short news report from Austin's Fox affiliate says it all:
Then the feds intervened. U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy sent a thinly veiled warning to lawmakers and senior officials: If the TSA was no longer permitted to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of passengers and the courts refused to block the legislation, the federal government would basically create a "no-fly zone" in Texas.
The State Senate backed down. But the battle is still not over. In fact, it may be just getting started. After two Texas officials described their recent experiences with the TSA on local television, calls for state action are growing even louder.
Interestingly, the bill has already passed through committee for a House vote, which was unanimous the first time around. Not only that but Republican senator Dan Patrick is saying that there are enough votes to pass there as well. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is also encouraging Perry to put the bill on the agenda.
The Lt. Governor is on board this time, too. State Sen. Dan Patrick also re-introduced the bill into the Senate. And this time, he says there are enough votes to pass it.Once again, Perry is being faced with a political decision that he cannot wiggle out of. Passage of this bill is all but guaranteed by him putting it on the agenda. In light of that reality, this video should be shown to him by every member of the Texas legislature. It is from April 9, 2009 - during the rise of the Tea Party. Perry made some very bold statements and his refusal to put HB 1937 on the agenda will have meant this press conference was a big fat lie.
Now the fate of the bill rests with Gov. Perry. In Texas, only legislation that is called up by the Governor can be voted on during the special legislative session. So, a broad coalition of liberty-minded organizations is mobilizing to make sure that happens.