Don’t mess with Texas’ junk.
That’s what Perry has to say to the Transportation Security Administration. Perry announced today that he will reintroduce a bill in the state legislature that would make TSA’s “enhanced pat-downs” illegal in Texas.
The statute would make it a misdemeanor for TSA agents to “touch the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person, even through that person’s clothing” for the purpose of “granting access to a building or a form of transportation.”
The proposed law was introduced earlier this year and passed the Texas House during the regular session. But it died in the state senate after US Attorney John Murphy drafted a letter warning TSA could cancel flights in and out of Texas if it determined security did not meet federal standards.
Murphy said the law would “conflict directly with federal law” and threatened that the federal government would turn to the courts to block enforcement of the law if it passed.
“Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law,” Murphy wrote.
“TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of the passengers and crew,” he continued.
After the bill failed the first time, Perry was under pressure from conservative constituents to reintroduce it. Activists held two rallies outside the state capitol building, and one questioned him directly about the issue during a book signing at the Republican Leadership conference in Louisiana last week. Perry added the bill to the agenda of a special session of the Texas legislature.
TSA said again it will take legal action to block any bill that limits its safety procedures.
“We will carefully review the bill that the legislature brings forward,” a TSA spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. “Should a bill pass that limits the ability of TSA and its employees to perform its responsibilities and jeopardizes the safety of the public, we will take whatever legal action is appropriate to ensure travelers are safe when they fly from Texas or any other state.”