The senator was in high dudgeon. “This was a come and take it moment for the state of Texas!” Dan Patrick proclaimed, trying to rally his fellow senators to stand up against the Feds, those high-handed intruders who had threatened to sue the state of Texas if Patrick’s “intrusive touching” bill became law.
To his dismay, though, the Houston lawmaker was left to face the Feds alone, abandoned not only by his fellow senators but by the lieutenant governor himself. Patrick ended up withdrawing House Bill 1937 from further consideration.
“It’s great when your lieutenant governor works against your bill while you’re on the floor,” Patrick muttered as he stalked off the Senate floor. (The lieutenant governor, of course, had a different view of the matter).
The little state/federal drama started late Tuesday night when Patrick assured Dewhurst he had the votes to bring up his bill, which would prohibit “intrusive touching” at airports and other public buildings. Patrick said the legislation, co-sponsored by state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, was designed to prevent security screeners from touching the genitals and other private parts when people go through checkpoints. He said the bill would classify certain invasive and inappropriate conduct used in certain searches as official oppression, a crime under Texas law.
So just to review, it’s perfectly fine for the state of Texas to require a doctor to shove a probe up a woman’s vagina before she’s allowed to have an abortion, but it’s official oppression if a TSA screener accidentally brushes a hand on Dan Patrick’s wee-wee while searching for explosives before he boards a plane. Maybe if we made TSA screeners have a sonogram before being allowed to touch anyone’s junk, that would solve the problem. Patrick’s subsequent freakout, blaming Dewhurst for the bill’s death, and the lunatic mob that showed up prepared to defend their own naughty bits against federal incursion just adds to the utter bizarreness of this episode. The Trib, Postcards, and In the Pink, which was thinking along the same lines as I was, have more.