Skip to content

HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Touchy in Texas

John E. Murphy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, messed with the Lone Star State and won.

The attorney wrote a scathing letter to the Texas Legislature on Tuesday threatening to ground and cancel every flight coming in or out of the state. 

The letter was in response to a bill that passed the state House earlier this month. The bill was heading for the state Senate but has since been withdrawn.

The Texas Tribune reported that “House Bill 1937 would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to ‘intentionally, knowingly or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”

However, according to Murphy, the bill would have made it a crime for a Transportation Security Administration official to “perform the security screening that he or she is authorized to do and required by federal law to perform.”

“If HR 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute,” he writes in the letter.

Unless or until a stay was granted, he continues, the TSA would have to cancel “any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”

“We urge that you consider the ramifications of this bill before casting your vote. Very truly yours,” Murphy concludes.

The Feds win this round.