On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives is set to consider a bill banning invasive searches of airline passengers without cause. Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) sponsored the measure that would make it a criminal offense for officials conducting traveler pat-downs to touch "the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person" including through clothing. The measure died in the Senate during the regular session after a threat from federal officials to close airports if it were approved.
Representative Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) tells KCBD that he does not think the measure will meet any opposition in the House on Friday. "It will go through the House again. I think we had 138 to 0 for it come out of the House, so it will sail through tomorrow. I don't see any debate over that one," Perry said.
Perry calls the bill a symbolic statement against federal government overreach, "That's really what the heart of that is about, is personal liberties. This is a way for Texas to say we can figure a way to do security a little bit better way, possibly, and that's what the context of that bill is about is federal government overreach," Perry said.
"The TSA, of course, they have a job to do. I think sometimes they're overreaching. I've co-authored the bill both during the regular session and in this special session. I think it's something that's important," Representative John Frullo (R-Lubbock) said. "The good news is they've got new technology on the horizon that will probably make all of this go away, I hear, by the end of the year," Frullo continued.
Governor Rick Perry revived the bill after it died in the regular session. Then and now, the federal government is threatening to cancel flights if it passes. Analysts say that's an empty threat, but that Perry is also grandstanding. Still, as he mulls a presidential run, the move is sure to win Perry points with tea party followers who support the bill.
KCBD asked our local leaders about Perry's possible run for president. "He's told numerous people he's still considering it. Obviously, I think he's active out there trying to figure out what his main ID would be, what his position in the race would be. I think you'll see him announce. I think we'll know in the next two to four weeks," Charles Perry said.
"From a Texas perspective, it would be great to have a guy in the White House again," Charles Perry added. The man who Charles Perry replaced, former Representative Delwin Jones agrees. "I think that would be good for the state. It would be a difficult to achieve, because real candidly a lot of the country is envious and jealous of Texas, and those don't tend to create support for anybody,"Jones said.
Copyright 2011 KCBD. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.