It’s still a little too early to celebrate, but intrusive airport pat-downs are at least being brought to the forefront. On May 12, Texas became the first state to pass a bill that banned security from touching travelers in an “inappropriate” way, as reported by the Daily Mail. Under the bill, it is deemed a criminal offense if airport security touches a person’s breasts or sexual organs, even if only through clothing.
In addition, it states that any search that a reasonable person would find offensive is banned. However, the bill has not yet been acted upon by the Senate which means that federal law could still overrule, and the TSA is governed federally. According to Alan Rosenthal, professor of public policy at Rutgers University, “it’s a way of getting attention and objecting to the intrusiveness of the search procedures.”
A few other states — New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Hawaii — are not far behind, introducing similar legislation, but not yet passing any bills. New Hampshire wants this behavior to be considered a sexual offense. Said Representative Andrew Manuse, the bill’s co-sponsor:
Let’s put their name on the sex offender registry, and maybe that will tell them New Hampshire means business.
TSA had nothing to say, stating that it’s not their policy to comment on pending legislation.