For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 25, 2012

Contact: Mike Maharrey Communications Director

O: 213.935.0553F: 213.402.3938

The TSA won’t stop itself, so the states will stop it

Sen. Rand Paul’s run-in with TSA agents at a security checkpoint in Nashville Monday once again focused national attention on the overreaching nature of federal airport security screenings. Paul’s prominent position illuminated the heavy handed methods used by the TSA, but his experience isn’t unique. Every day, thousands of Americans endure embarrassing, degrading and constitutionally dubious pat-downs at airports across the United States.

Recognizing that the TSA will never rein itself in, several state lawmakers have taken up James Madison’s call to interpose on behalf of their citizens.

Legislators in Alaska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania have already introduced bills that would serve to check overreaching TSA searches. And the Tenth Amendment Center expects at least seven other states to follow suit during the 2012 legislative session.

Rep. Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage) had her own experience with TSA agents. Last year, the breast cancer survivor opted to drive from Seattle to Juneau rather than undergo a pat-down when a scanner flagged her surgical scars as an “irregularity.”

“For nearly fifty years I’ve fought for the rights of assault victims, population in which my wonderful Alaska sadly ranks number one, both for men and women who have been abused. The very last thing an assault victim or molested person can deal with is yet more trauma and the groping of strangers, the hands of government ‘safety’ policy. For these people, as well as myself, I refused to submit,” she wrote, chronicling her experience on her blog.

On Jan. 17, Cissna introduced HB 262 in the Alaska House. If passed, the act would make it a class A misdemeanor for any agent to require a person seeking access to a public building or transportation facility to submit to touching of a sexual nature, or screening that reveals any body part not normally visible to the public.

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House passed a bill requiring state and local law enforcement officials to document complaints from citizens who feel TSA searches cross the line and then place the report in a public data base.

Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin says states must step in to protect their citizens.

“The TSA is never going to stop itself. And Congress will never stop its own creation either. It’s up to us – We the People – in our own respective states, to put an end to the TSA’s constant violation of our rights,” he said.

To track state level travel freedom legislation, click here.


The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.

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