Utah Lawmaker Opens Bill File to Hold TSA to the Same Standards as Law Enforcement

Utah drafts bill against TSA
Stock Image | St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Representative Carl Wimmer (R-Herriman) opened a bill file today that, according to his website post,  “will prohibit TSA pat downs in Utah without reasonable suspicion. Texas needs us to stand with them.”

Taking a hint from what Texas has sought to enroll in her laws, this suggests that Transportation Security Administration agents, on site at Utah airports, may become subject to the same criteria that other law enforcement officials must meet before performing a search upon a person.

Opening a bill file can be as much or as little as an exploratory process, and does not necessarily mean that it will make it through to Committees and the Legislative floor for vote.

The Daily Herald quotes Wimmer as saying:  “It is a work in progress, what I would do right now is simply say TSA Agents are not exempt from the requirement of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pat down a citizen.”

“The way I would look [at] Reasonable suspicion is the same as the Terry v. Ohio case law that regular law enforcement has been working uder (sic) for decades,” Wimmer said on his public Facebook page. “It seems to work well, respects the people and their 4th amendment protected rights, and allows for public safety. If it is good enough for the police why is TSA exempt from these restrictions? It boggles the mind.”

A similar bill in Texas was effectively shut down in the Senate after receiving a threatening letter from the Federal Government that stated that TSA agents should not have to choose between carrying out their duties and risking criminal prosecution. The letter stated that the government would ground all flights in Texas if necessary.

The letter can be found here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B3Uww67RvC9-YmI4OTU4NDktOTM3Ny00NjllLWFmZmItMTA4NDhkYzdmZGFm&hl=en_US

St. George News has contacted Wimmer and expects his response in due time, and will report further as appropriate and as this bill develops.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

This article was written by Joyce Kuzmanic and Jen Watkins

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