Last fall, Pennsylvania resident James Babb and his associate George Donnelly (I don’t happen to know whether Mr. Donnelly is a PA resident or not) launched the web site, wewontfly.com and organized the widely publicized National Opt Out Day.
Since the resistance began with a Pennsylvania resident, it is fitting that Pennsylvania’s legislature is now working to tell the TSA that here in Pennsylvania, we demand to be treated with dignity. Along with our neigbors in New Jersey and other states, including New Hampshire and Texas, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is considering TSA resistance legislation of our own.
RESOLVED, That the Pennsylvania House of Representatives memorialize Congress to exercise a greater degree of oversight on the TSA and place greater restrictions on the airport screening procedures employed by that agency, with specific concern about the privacy of law-abiding individuals; and be it further
RESOLVED, That Congress is urged to limit the use of advanced imaging technology and pat-downs by TSA employees to situations where the person being searched is under arrest, a search warrant has been issued to search a specific person or probable cause exists to search a specific person;
… violates this section if he contacts another person’s genitals or breasts in the course of conducting a body search. A Federal, State or municipal government employee shall not be immune from prosecution under this subsection, even if the violation occurred while acting within the scope of employment…
Violation of this act is stated to be a misdemeanor of the third degree.
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution says,
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
And Section 8 of Article 1 in Pennsylvania’s Constitution says,
The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation subscribed by the affiant.
Although our overlords may not want to admit it, the meaning of these words is easy to understand for any American living outside the confusion of the Washington beltway. Submitting to virtual strip-searches and groping by government agents as a condition for travel does not fall within the boundaries for either of those protections. Some of us still believe in, “innocent until proven guilty”.
Update: 3/24/11 – The House State Government Committee meets Wednesday on this legislation. Committee member names and phone numbers are here.
Steve Palmer is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center.
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