It's bad enough when you travel to have to stand in dehumanizing cattle call lines, pay extra fees for checking baggage, show your license and plane ticket (what's next -- birth certificate?) multiple times to prove you're just an innocent American citizen trying to visit Disney World with your kids, etc. But add getting felt up by an aggressive TSA pat-down to the mix? That's the last straw! Texas is so fed up with the way the Transportation Security Administration has been treating travelers recently that the state government was hoping to lay the smack down with an "anti-groping bill."
If passed, the bill would have made intrusive TSA pat-downs that involve touching "the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person including through the clothing" a misdemeanor. In turn, Texas law enforcement could arrest TSA officials and charge them with sexual harassment.
Plus, the TSA officials would be slapped with a $4,000 fine and have to spend up to a year in jail. Ouch! That's some major cracking down on overly-invasive pat-downs right there. Too bad that after the bill was passed in the Texas House of Representatives, the Fed had to step in and say, "Hells no" to Texas.
Specifically, U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy wrote to Texas legislators, basically suggesting that if the bill were passed, the TSA would have no choice but to cancel flights going into Texas in the interest of public safety.
So, now, Texans are gonna have to just deal with getting groped, because apparently a state can't override the federal government. Darnit!
Although the "groping bill" does sound pretty extreme as it is currently written, I find myself standing with Texas for the most part. I'm definitely a fan of the idea behind it ... or maybe just of the statement Texas was trying to make. Most of us are fed up with how we're treated when going through security. We hate that we don't have much of a choice other than to subject ourselves to radiation or get an aggressive pat-down. We hate that our children -- even our infants -- are barked at to take off their shoes or tiny hoodies. And we hate being made to feel as though we're all criminals. Worst of all, we hate that it all seems like window-dressing, so why on earth should we feel sexually violated when the benefit of such pat-downs isn't even necessarily THERE?
It's no wonder we all feel like TSA officials are a bunch of bullies who just want to get their hands all over us.
And it's about time the TSA got a slap on the wrist in the form of something like the "groping bill." Texas is just looking out for its citizens' best interests. Sure, they may have overstepped their boundaries a bit, but their heart was in the right place. On legal grounds, it makes sense that the Fed can dismiss this bill, but at the same time, they need to take it as a serious sign that it's time to listen to those of us who are fed up with getting felt up.
How do you feel about the Texas "groping bill"? Would you support it if it came up for a vote in your state?
Image via Dan Previte/Flickr