AUSTIN (KXAN) - Even though it appeared near death late last week, legislation to make it illegal for federal security to grope airline passengers during pat-down searches passed in the Texas House on Monday.
A Senate committee also passed a version of the measure earlier in the day.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst issued the following statement regarding the passage of Senate Bill 29, the TSA pat-down bill:
"We all want our skies to be safe and we all want to fight terrorism. But airport security must focus on stopping terrorists, not harassing innocent travelers. With the passage of SB 29, the Texas Legislature is not only telling the TSA to change their policies − we're telling the Obama Administration we will not be intimidated and we will vigorously defend our Constitutional rights."
The House reversed course after amendments were offered to make the legislation authored by freshman state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, less objectionable to the bill's opponents. Supporters of the law staged a protest Monday chanting "treason" and "traitor," in apparent references for those who would stall or modify the bill.
The bill requires one more vote by the House.
Last week, Simpson said the measure appeared doomed as the special legislative session headed into the homestretch. Gov. Rick Perry added to the special session's agenda just about a week ago.
The prospect for passage was made even more bleak when House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, called it a "publicity stunt" designed to make a symbolic attack on the federal government.
Supporters of the bill have staged numerous protests, insisting that patting down the private parts of airline travelers amounted to sexual assaults.
The state Senate and House have until Wednesday to agree on a final version to send to Gov. Rick Perry.
The Austin City Council will take up billing errors and problems with the appeals process at Austin Energy during Thursday's meeting.
The judge presiding over the trial to oust District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg ruled Wednesday that she'll stay in office.
Mack Brown’s longtime friend and attorney said Wednesday that the veteran coach of the Longhorns has not yet made a decision on his future, but that it will come soon.
County commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the buyout of 23 homes in the Timber Creek neighborhood.
The sign-language interpreter on stage at Nelson Mandela's globally broadcast memorial service was a faker who was waving his arms around meaninglessly, advocates for the deaf said Wednesday.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.