The Texas Legislature blinked Monday and passed a watered-down anti-groping bill that gives Transportation Security Administration agents carte blanche to continue groping travelers at Texas airports based on reasonable suspicion.
House Speaker Joe Straus had opposed the original bill that required a “probable cause” reason for the invasive pat-down procedure, dismissing it as a “publicity stunt.” But the fact that he favors this bill indicates just how toothless it is.
The Texas House had been scheduled to vote on the original version on June 24, but not enough representatives bothered to show up for the vote to constitute a quorum. In other words, Texas, the members of your Legislature, when faced with a choice between tyranny and standing up to a gangster government, tucked their tails and ran.
But even the watered-down version may not become law. The House and Senate must now reconcile their different versions — the House version is even weaker than the Senate’s — and must make it to Governor Rick Perry’s desk today.
Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), the chief sponsor of the bill, acknowledged it will be a challenge to get a bill to Perry by the deadline, according to a report in the Star-Telegram.
Perry has been lukewarm to the legislation at best. But Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has worked diligently with Straus to either kill the bill or remove its teeth.
Dewhurst will be trolling for votes soon as he runs for higher office, most likely for retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat. Texans need to remember that Dewhurst sided with the Federal government against freedom.
And anyone seriously considering supporting Perry for President needs to remember his silence on the anti-groping legislation.