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Texas House Adjourns Without Final Approval of Pat-Down Bill

The Texas House has adjourned, but failed to pass a bill which would have made some changes to physical searches by Transportation Security Administration employees.

The bill would have outlawed enhanced pat-downs by federal airport screeners without reasonable suspicion that the person is carrying contraband.

It would have prohibited federal employees from touching a traveler’s private areas, and violations would have carried penalties of a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

The “pat-down” bill was passed by the Texas Senate, which adjourned Tuesday afternoon, but supporters in the House could not muster the 120 votes necessary, ending up with a 96-26 vote to suspend constitutional rules. The votes were not enough to bring the bill up for final passage.

Both chambers passed the critical fiscal bills and hurricane finance reforms that were the main reason for the special session.

Governor Rick Perry issued a statement following the end of the legislative session, saying “The decisions made were difficult, but lawmakers should take pride in the fact that they did what families all across Texas are doing: living within their means.”

Perry continued, saying “Although the airport pat-down bill did not pass, it did initiate a public discussion and some changes in airport security procedures.”

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