107077113 State Senate Passes Weakened Airport Groping Bill

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)


AUSTIN (AP)- A Texas Senate committee has passed a weakened version of a bill criminalizing intrusive security pat-downs at airports, angering many of the people who showed up to support it.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

The measure makes it a criminal offense for security to touch a person’s sexual organs and other sensitive areas. But the version passed Monday by the Senate committee on Transportation and Homeland Security gives officials wide latitude to conduct the searches without breaking the law.

The change angered many members of the public who expected to testify in support of the bill. Several witnesses said the changes make the law unenforceable.

Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican, disagreed, saying the bill sends a message to federal authorities to change their security pat-down policies.

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