From the Libertarian Party of Texas:
Bills would ban unwarranted, invasive physical searches and “virtual strip searches” in Texas
AUSTIN – If the Texas Legislature’s Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approves HB 1937 today, Texas will have the opportunity to lead the nation in banning the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) “enhanced pat-downs” that have created so much controversy throughout our nation’s airports and public places. The Libertarian Party of Texas supports the non-partisan effort of our state legislators, led by Representative David Simpson (R-HD 7), to ban the TSA’s intrusive practices. The Libertarian Party of Texas also supports HB 1938 (not on the committee calendar for today), which would ban body scanner machines.
Currently, air travelers are forced to choose between body scans that produce nude images of their bodies or submit to intimate physical searches that can involve TSA workers reaching inside skirts, pants and underwear and touching breasts, genitals and buttocks. Travelers cannot refuse either search or voluntarily leave the airport without risk of being searched, arrested and fined up to $10,000.
Rep. Simpson says, “Treating travelers as criminal suspects and forcing innocent citizens to submit to unreasonable and humiliating searches without probable cause as a condition of travel violates Section 9 of the Texas Bill of Rights and the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” In addition to concerns about the Constitution, privacy and public dignity, there are also questions about the effectiveness of these security measures and potential health risks from the radiation used in the body scans.
The Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will be hearing discussion on HB 1937 today. The Libertarian Party of Texas encourages those who can to attend the hearing and make their voices heard. For those who cannot attend, it is important for the members of this committee to receive support for both HB 1937 and HB 1938 from Texans by phone or email.
The Libertarian Party of Texas advocates for the replacement of the TSA in Texas airports with private security screeners that employ more common-sense measures. As Robert Butler, Legislative Advisor to the party, says, “Little by little, we are losing the freedoms we have long enjoyed and fought for. Passive metal detectors have been replaced with active ionizing radiation and aggressive physical groping. Rep. Simpson’s bill will help to restore balance and common sense to our airports and public places.”
The Libertarian Party of Texas recently won a legislative success when it helped defeat a potential ‘poll tax’.