AUSTIN (KXAN) - With just 10 days left in the special session, Gov. Rick Perry has added a new issue to the call – a controversial measure often referred to as the "anti-groping" bill. This comes after the author of the original, failed legislation made another push for his bill's addition.
Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, sent a letter to Perry, hoping for a change of heart regarding House Bill 41. He wrote that the measure is needed to "protect innocent people from unreasonable searches of their person by their own government."
The bill would make it a misdemeanor for TSA agents to touch certain parts of a person's body during a security check.
Similar legislation in the regular session died in the Senate after concerns arose from the Department of Justice. A DOJ letter suggested the bill would interfere with TSA security responsibilities and could force the grounding of flights in Texas.
Simpson changed the language of the HB 41 to give the federal government more time to respond. Instead of going into effect immediately after passage, it would allow 90 days.
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed HB 41 unanimously last week. The bill has 112 co-authors.
It's unclear whether Perry would call lawmakers back again to take up the legislation if time runs out this go-round. On Thursday he said he supported a change by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration involving children under the age of 12.
"TSA's policy change is a step in the right direction to regain the trust of American families," Perry said. "Texas will continue seeking more common-sense approaches to TSA security measures, and I look forward to working with lawmakers on related legislation that will accomplish these goals."
Simpson said Wednesday that he has enough votes in both chambers to move the bill, but suggested that, in his view, Perry appears lukewarm to the issue.
"I thought it would be a good campaign issue for him, not to go up against President Obama but because the TSA needs some big changes," Simpson said.
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