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Texas House Bans Offensive Security Pat-Downs

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A TSA agent waits for passengers to pass through a magnetometer at Los Angeles International Airport on November 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

A TSA agent waits for passengers to pass through a magnetometer at Los Angeles International Airport on November 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas House passed a bill that would make it a criminal offense for public servants to inappropriately touch travelers during airport security pat-downs.

Approved late Thursday night, the measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting searches to touch “the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person” including through clothing.

It also prohibits searches “that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

The bill’s chief sponsor is Republican Rep. David Simpson, who said, “this has to do with dignity and travel, and prohibiting indecent, groping searches.”

He believes it will keep Transportation Security Administration officials from treating travelers like criminals, though the measure may be superseded by federal law.

After a brief but raucous debate, lawmakers approved the measure with little opposition — drawing applause from supporters.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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