At Texas Statehouse, Raucous Protesters Blast Lawmakers for Backing Down on TSA Anti-Groping Bill

David Paulin
A bill in the Texas legislature challenging the Transportation Security Administration's intrusive, crotch-groping pat downs went down in flames on Wednesday, amid raucous protests by states' rights advocates who supported the bill.
 
Protesters attempted to storm the Senate gallery after sensing the bill was in jeopardy, following a letter the U.S. Attorney had sent to Texas lawmakers earlier in the day. It stated that the bill's passage would necessitate the banning of airline flights to Texas.
 
Some sign-carrying protesters said they were unconcerned if the federal government banned airline flights to the state, and called lawmakers  "liars" and "traitors" for failing to stand up to the federal government.
 
Challenging the legality of the anti-groping bill, U.S. Attorney John Murphy of San Antonio had explained in his letter that "Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law." He added that the "TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of the passengers and crew."
 
Republican lawmakers suffered another embarrassing defeat late Tuesday. A bill banning sanctuary cities -- a priority of Republican Gov. Rick Perry -- died after being blocked in the Senate by Democrats. Republicans were short two votes to pass the bill; it would have prohibited police departments from having polices that prohibit officers from inquiring about a suspects immigration status. 
 
Just how raucous things got at the entrance to Senate floor was captured in a photo, published in the Austin American-Statesman, of agitated Austin-based radio host Alex Jones working himself into a frenzy at the foot of the Senate gallery. Other protesters are standing nearby as state troopers look on.
 
Earlier in the day, Jones went into a rage on his radio show after learning the bill banning TSA groping was in jeopardy due to the U.S. Attorney's letter. Jones exhorted listeners to head to the Capitol and personally register their anger to lawmakers. Here's a YouTube clip of Jones' colorful performance, one that for a change is free of crackpot conspiracy theories.
 
During Wednesday's Senate session, Republican lawmakers put decorum aside and exchanged barbs over who was responsible for the defeat of the anti-groping bill. The Austin American-Statesman has the full story, here.
 
Meanwhile, the TSA was put on the defensive by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia). During an appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," he told a story about a recent flying experience – one all-to-familiar to many air travelers. He related:
 
"I walked through … right behind me there was a grandmother — little old lady, and she was was patted down.
 
"Right behind her was a little kid who was patted down. And then right behind him was a guy in Arabian dress who just walked right through. Why are we patting down grandma and kids?"
 
You can see Rep. Broun's comments here via Real Clear Politics Video.   
A bill in the Texas legislature challenging the Transportation Security Administration's intrusive, crotch-groping pat downs went down in flames on Wednesday, amid raucous protests by states' rights advocates who supported the bill.
 
Protesters attempted to storm the Senate gallery after sensing the bill was in jeopardy, following a letter the U.S. Attorney had sent to Texas lawmakers earlier in the day. It stated that the bill's passage would necessitate the banning of airline flights to Texas.
 
Some sign-carrying protesters said they were unconcerned if the federal government banned airline flights to the state, and called lawmakers  "liars" and "traitors" for failing to stand up to the federal government.
 
Challenging the legality of the anti-groping bill, U.S. Attorney John Murphy of San Antonio had explained in his letter that "Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law." He added that the "TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of the passengers and crew."
 
Republican lawmakers suffered another embarrassing defeat late Tuesday. A bill banning sanctuary cities -- a priority of Republican Gov. Rick Perry -- died after being blocked in the Senate by Democrats. Republicans were short two votes to pass the bill; it would have prohibited police departments from having polices that prohibit officers from inquiring about a suspects immigration status. 
 
Just how raucous things got at the entrance to Senate floor was captured in a photo, published in the Austin American-Statesman, of agitated Austin-based radio host Alex Jones working himself into a frenzy at the foot of the Senate gallery. Other protesters are standing nearby as state troopers look on.
 
Earlier in the day, Jones went into a rage on his radio show after learning the bill banning TSA groping was in jeopardy due to the U.S. Attorney's letter. Jones exhorted listeners to head to the Capitol and personally register their anger to lawmakers. Here's a YouTube clip of Jones' colorful performance, one that for a change is free of crackpot conspiracy theories.
 
During Wednesday's Senate session, Republican lawmakers put decorum aside and exchanged barbs over who was responsible for the defeat of the anti-groping bill. The Austin American-Statesman has the full story, here.
 
Meanwhile, the TSA was put on the defensive by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia). During an appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," he told a story about a recent flying experience – one all-to-familiar to many air travelers. He related:
 
"I walked through … right behind me there was a grandmother — little old lady, and she was was patted down.
 
"Right behind her was a little kid who was patted down. And then right behind him was a guy in Arabian dress who just walked right through. Why are we patting down grandma and kids?"
 
You can see Rep. Broun's comments here via Real Clear Politics Video.