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Protesters to March on Capitol Over Sabotage of TSA Groping Bill

Legislation set to be heard in both House and Senate today, but amendments inserted by Straus and Dewhurst have gutted the bill

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, June 27, 2011

Demonstrators led by Austin-based radio host Alex Jones will again march on the Capitol building today to protest the sabotage of an anti-TSA groping bill that was scheduled to receive a hearing on Friday but was mothballed for a second time after House members failed to show for the vote, and has now been rendered almost impotent by amendments inserted by Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst that have gutted the bill.

The protest is set to take place at 4pm CST this afternoon.

Jones will lead demonstrators to the Capitol for the second month running over the TSA bill, having also protested in May after the federal government threatened to enforce a federal blockade that would have turned Texas into a de facto no fly zone to prevent the Senate from passing a bill that had already sailed through the House.

Speaker of the House Joe Straus has been instrumental in stymying the passage of the TSA bill, calling the legislation an “ill-advised publicity stunt” and “unenforceable,” while demanding the bill be significantly watered down, despite the fact that it already passed the House unanimously last month. According to the Texas Tribune, Straus approached the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. David Simpson last week and insisted that language pertaining to “private parts” be removed from the legislation altogether, which would have completely gutted the bill.

Indeed, Michael Gobart, front man for one of the primary lobbying groups pushing to have the legislation enacted, has now withdrawn his support for the House version of the bill due to new amendments that have rendered the legislation almost impotent. “After consulting with multiple attorneys and legal teams who investigated the matter, we concluded that the amendments would indeed gut the bill of its force,” writes Gobart.

The most damaging amendment, inserted by Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a bid to make the bill “wholly irrelevant,” now mandates that prosecutors prove in every instance that TSA groping is unconstitutional, rather than just placing a blanket ban on behavior that should already be criminal under the 4th amendment.

“Under the amended language, HB 41 is no longer a legislative declaration that such actions are unconstitutional and criminal. Instead, the amended bill leaves the issue of constitutionality to be determined by the courts, with the burden of proof shifted to the one who experienced the “sexual assault.” While this amendment certainly makes the bill more impervious to Federal attack on constitutional grounds, it does so by surrendering the entire battle,” reports TSA Tyranny.com.

“If we believe that travelers being touched in their private parts without probable cause is unconstitutional, then we must not be afraid to say it, to codify it, and to hold actors who violate this standard accountable with the force of law,” remarked Wesley Strackbein, co-founder of TsaTyranny.com.”

In all but sabotaging the bill, Straus and Dewhurst, self-proclaimed Republicans, have revealed their true colors as big government apologists.

According to the Supplemental House Calendar, the Texas House will today hear HB 41, a bill that, if enacted, will criminally punish (after prosecutors are forced to prove the case in a court of law) any TSA agent who “touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing,” without probable cause that the individual has committed an offense.

According to the Senate Room Schedule, the Senate version of the bill, SB 29, will also be heard today by lawmakers at noon central time. Although the bill is not listed on the page, Senator Dan Patrick has confirmed that the legislation will be voted no at the 82nd Legislature, 1st Called Session.

Just three days remain of the special session and most of the legislation Governor Rick Perry requested has not even reached his desk. On Friday, when House members were due to vote on the groping legislation, they instead went AWOL, failing to form the 100 members required for a quorum.

In a statement released last week, the TSA also promised to take legal action if the bill was passed.

Whatever its final version looks like, “Straus, Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst say they believe lawmakers will work out their disagreements and pass all the measures before them without heading into a second special session,” reports the El Paso Times.

Most Senators support the bill and only another round of dirty tricks from either Straus or the federal government will prevent its passage, that is assuming lawmakers actually bother to turn up this time around, but many observers will only see the legislation as having symbolic value if the new amendments remain in the text.

Another potential roadblock is the fact that, according to House representative David Simpson, “(Governor) Perry appears lukewarm to the issue.” Recall that Perry initially refused to include the bill on the special session before he was aggressively lobbied by pressure groups to do so.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.

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