Whether it’s for stealing passengers’ property or tearing open a leukemia patient’s saline bags, the TSA always seems to be making the news. Now, one Washington state representative is preparing to fight back against the growing federal encroachment.
The Transportation Security Agency, best known for its intrusive pat downs in airports, has now been seen at highway checkpoints, bus stations, train stations and even football games. In fact, in 2011 over 9,300 unannounced highway checkpoints were set up by the TSA. Despite these searches being unconstitutional, they continue to grow.
"The conversation concerning the unconscionable and unconstitutional 'grope and feel' policies of the federal government in airport, bus, and train station security checkpoints around the country is long overdue," said Rep. Jason Overstreet, the primary sponsor of the bill.
HB 1454, The Washington State Freedom Of Travel Act, uses clear and commonsense language to point out the illegal activities which the TSA is already carrying out on a regular basis and sets penalties for violations within the state.
Section 2 reads:
(1) A public servant acting under color of his or her office or employment commits an offense of official oppression if he or she:
(a) Intentionally subjects another person to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he or she knows is unlawful;
(b) Intentionally denies or impedes another person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity that he or she knows is unlawful;
(c) Intentionally subjects another person to harassment, as defined in RCW 9A.46.020, or sexual harassment;
The bill goes on to mention the illegality of groping and removing children from parental custody without permission, important sections in light of the TSA's apparent policy of hiring criminals, including a former Catholic priest who was defrocked for sexually abusing young girls. It also states that a "person who commits the offense of official oppression by a public servant is guilty of a class C felony.”
"It is unacceptable to allow ourselves, our sons, daughters and grandparents to be physically violated, in return for the opportunity to travel freely. Your elected officials swore oaths to protect you from unwarranted search and seizure--it's time for them to step up to the plate and act," Overstreet added.
At this time it is in the hands of the Washington Public Safety Committee to decide whether or not the bill will receive a hearing. Those interested in getting involved can contact committee members and ask them to support HB 1454.