ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Feb. 15, 2012) – Last Friday, Maryland joined a growing list of states considering legislation that would say, “No!” to TSA groping.
Delegate Glen Glass (R – Cecil and Hartford Counties) filed HB1111, which would prohibit a public servant from conducting searches for the purpose of entering a publicly accessible building or utilizing a public mode of transportation without probable cause or express consent.
The legislation also specifically prohibits “sexual harassment” by agents, defining harassment as, “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly touching the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing; or causing physical contact with the other person when the public servant knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.”
Prosecutors could charge violators of the law with a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than one year in prison, or a fine of no more than $4,000, or both.
The law would effectively outlaw the most intrusive TSA searches without probable cause.
The proposed legislation does allow for a defense, “if the defendant performed the search in accordance and consistent with an explicit and applicable grant of federal or state statutory authority that is consistent with both the Maryland Constitution and the United States Constitution.”
The act properly makes the constitutions the ultimate governing authority, not federal law.
Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey praised Glass for introducing the measure.
“James Madison insisted states have not only the right, but a duty to interpose for their citizens. It’s always inspiring to see somebody like Delegate Glass stand up and take that duty seriously,” he said.
But despite the intrusiveness of TSA searches and their dubious constitutionality, some Americans support federal groping and peeking, arguing that flying is a privilege and anybody can avoid the ordeal simply by taking the bus. Maharrey takes issue with their reasoning.
“I don’t see any footnote to the Fourth Amendment declaring that its protection ends at the doors of an airport. Not only that, the TSA is expanding its reach to train and bus stations. What’s next? Will I have to submit to a grope just to walk down the sidewalk?” he asked. “How about this; those folks who believe the federal government must violate my most basic rights to make flying safe can take the bus, and I’ll take my chances traveling without getting felt up.”
Maryland lawmakers join legislators in Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania considering legislation to rein in the TSA. To track travel freedom legislation across the U.S., click HERE.
For model travel freedom legislation, click HERE.