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Anti-groping bill fails in Texas -- again

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  June 30, 2011 01:29 PM

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A bill seeking to ban invasive airport pat-downs by Transportation Safety Administration agents again failed to win final approval by the Texas legislature, this time before the end of its special session.

Republican Governor Rick Perry put the measure on the agenda for the special session
amid pressure from conservative and Tea Party activists to do so. The bill was passed in the Texas House in May but failed in the Senate in June after US Attorney John E. Murphy sent a letter to state officials citing constitutional primacy of federal laws over state restrictions and threatening to shut down air travel in the Lone Star State.

The measure would have made it a crime for TSA officials to "touch the anus,
sexual organ, buttocks or breast of another person" a misdemeanor. Convicted suspects would face a $4,000 fine and one year in jail.

Versions of the plan passed in both houses, both of which have Republican majorities. But the Senate adjourned Tuesday without approving the House version.

Some legislators vowed that the bill would not be forgotten. But the Texas legislature convenes only once every two years.

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