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Kansas Considers Putting Limits on TSA Pat-Downs

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Feb 19, 2013 07:04 PM EST

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TSA
A TSA agent almost didn't let passenger through because she had a Washington, D.C. identification card and the agent didn't know where DC was or that and ID card from there is legitimate. (Photo : Reuters)

Lawmakers in Kansas are considering putting restrictions on TSA pat-downs.

A bill sponsored by 21 House members would make it illegal for Transportation Security Administration agents to touch passenger's private parts during a pat-down. The bill would also prevents agents from taking children under the age of 18 away from parents to perform a search.

"Air travelers are subjected to aggressive, humiliating pat-downs, many of which would land the average stranger off the street in jail," Rep. Brett Hildabrand told the Kansas Eagle. "But because the federal government has given someone a blue uniform and a badge, we are told that person has authority over our bodies and we must endure."

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If approved, this would apply to the 100 to 100 TSA officers who work at seven Kansas airports  which include Wichita, Dodge City, Manhattan, Great Bend and Hays.

Kansas is joining several conservative states which have gone after the TSA including Texas, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Alaska.

There is a debate over whether a state could have jurisdiction over the behavior of airport security screeners who work for the federal agency.  The TSA argues that the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from regulating the federal government.

Some experts don't see this legislation happening. They feel that the supporters of the bill are wasting their time.

"I don't see it being implemented," Glenn Winn, an aviation security expert at the University of Southern California told the Kansas Eagle.

"I think it's a waste of our time," said Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City. "We have law enforcement officers at every level that may abuse their powers. Are we going to make laws for all of them, too?"

This bill follows an incident at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport in 2012 in which a woman claimed that TSA screeners treated her four-year-old daughter like a terrorist, leaving her in tears.

 

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