Rep. Tom McMillin (R- Rochester Hills) introduced House Bill 4772 on June 16. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to “intentionally touch the clothed or unclothed breast, genitalia, buttocks, or anus of that other individual except upon reasonable cause to believe that the individual may be concealing an item that is prohibited on that public property or on that mode of public transportation.”
Anyone convicted under the law would face a $500 fine and /or 93 days in jail.
McMillin modeled the bill on similar legislation proposed by Texas Rep. David Simpson. The Texas House unanimously passed HB 1937 in May, and the bill was on track to pass the Senate when a letter from U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy threatening to shut down air travel in the Lone Star State scared Texas Senators into backing down.
But Texas will try again. On June 20, Texas Gov. Rick Perry added the Texas TSA legislation to a special legislative session.
McMillin says an incident at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport motivated him to propose legislation that would effectively end intrusive TSA pat-downs in Michigan without probable cause. Earlier this month, agents at the airport singled out a 29-year-old man with special needs for extra security screening. Dr. David Mandy says his son has the mental capacity of a 2-year-old. But TSA agents insisted on patting Drew Mandy down, confiscating a toy hammer he carries with him.
“My son carries his ball and his hammer for security. He goes everywhere with (them),” Mandy told WJBK FOX 2 in Detroit. “He took the hammer and he tapped the wall. ‘See, it’s hard. It could be used as a weapon.’ So, Drew’s also holding the ball, and I said, ‘Well, how about the ball?’ He (said), ‘Oh, he can keep that.’”
Agents gave Dr. Mandy the option of shipping the hammer home, but he said there was not enough time before their flight, so he threw it away.
“It just killed me to have to throw it away because he’s been carrying this like for 20 years,” Mandy said.
Mandy’s mother cleared through the checkpoint with an identical hammer in her backpack.
McMillin said it was time to take a stand for the citizens of Michigan.
“While there should be effective searches at security checkpoints, it should not mean passengers are harassed. States need to stand up for the rights of their citizens. This bill does that.”
A number of high profile incidents have shed light on the intrusiveness of the Fourth Amendment violating TSA pat-down procedures. Former Miss USA Susie Castillo made a tearful video after she was groped at a checkpoint at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. A man captured a photo of an infant undergoing a search in Kansas City. And a pat-down in New Orleans left a 6-year-old girl in tears.
Michigan joins Utah and Texas in seeking to ban the intrusive searches. Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate at least eight other states will likely propose similar legislation in the coming months.
For more information on TSA nullification bills and to track pending legislation, click here.