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State Legislatures Attempt To Limit TSA Searches 601

OverTheGeicoE writes "Here's a familiar story: a breast cancer survivor's mastectomy scars showed up on a TSA scan, which forced a horrifying pat-down ('feel-up' in her words) of the affected area. The woman decided that she would not subject herself to that again, and was barred from a later flight from Seattle to Juneau for that reason. But now the story takes an interesting turn: the woman is Alaska State Rep. Sharon Cissna, and once she finally made it back to Alaska she started sponsoring legislation to restrict TSA searches. Her many bills, if passed, would criminalize both pat-downs and 'naked scanning,' as well as require better health warnings for X-ray scanners and even studies of airport screenings' physical and psychological effects. Other states, including Utah and Texas, are considering similar legislation. For example, Texas State Rep. David Simpson is preparing to reintroduce his Traveler Dignity Act again in 2013 if he is re-elected. The last time that bill was being considered the Federal government threatened to turn all of Texas into a 'no-fly zone'."
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State Legislatures Attempt To Limit TSA Searches

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  • Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by Srsen ( 413456 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:47PM (#39137571)
    The Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution states that, when there is a conflict, Federal law always trumps State law. So these measures are a nice gesture but ultimately useless. Too bad, I agree with them in principle, just not in execution.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:49PM (#39137593)
    I understand why the woman was upset, but state legislatures (generally the Republican controlled ones) still do not get it. You cannot preempt federal law by state legislation. TSA actions are governed at the federal level. States have no authority to tell them what they can and cannot do. Consider what could, in theory, happen if states could preempt federal law. Let's pretend that Mythonia (made up) is an American state and they legislate that only white male citizens over the age of 18 can vote. Then there is nothing the non-white citizens of Mythonia can do about it except try to change the law as the other 49 states and the federal government shrug their shoulders and say "Wish we could help".
  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:52PM (#39137619)

    The terrorists did not put these practices in place... our government did.

  • Re:No Fly Zone (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:55PM (#39137651) Homepage

    Then the feds would just shut down the golden picnic hamper. States would go hungry.

    Much of Federal legislation (education / environment, not so sure about the TSA in particular) isn't directly forcing states to do one thing or another. It's just if you don't want to play in their sandbox, you don't get to play with the fun toys.

    The old golden rule "He who has the gold, rules".

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @12:59PM (#39137739) Journal

    Let's make all of congress, the senate, and of course, the President and cronies, have to go thru a TSA scanner and pat down every time they want to enter the senate, or the white house, or congress. Let's do this for a month, then lets have a revote on this stuff.

    My guess is we'd get rid of all the scanners and pat downs.

    After all, the people who make the laws are the one rarely affected by the laws they are making, unless it's something to benefit them.

  • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:01PM (#39137769) Homepage

    Right. Until the Federated Republic of California decided to invade.

    Who gets to keep the guns? (And the bombers and the Navy and this and that). You folks haven't really thought this out. This pops up in Alaska all the time (Sarah Palin's husband is big on this). Alaska's National Guard has some light infantry and a few old fighters. I think the biggest weapon that the Alaska State Troopers have is a 50 caliber machine gun and a couple of 300 pound officers.

    Russia waltzes in. Then what happens?

    So, you make 'defensive pacts' with the big guys with the guns. You have to pay for that right. That's a treaty or similar.

    Now, just look at how well the United States has done with treaties (ask your average Native American).

    Dream on, brother.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by kingramon0 ( 411815 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:24PM (#39138061) Homepage

    In order for Federal Law to trump state law, it has to be made in pursuance of its Constitutionally delegated powers. If Congress passes a law which they are not granted the power to do as part of their enumerated powers, then it does not trump state laws. That is why there is no federal drinking age, speed limit, etc. Those powers are not granted to it, so instead they simply bribe the states into passing laws to their intended effect by threatening to withhold transportation money.

    Powers that are not enumerated to the Federal government belong to the states to begin with, and therefore cannot be trumped by Federal law. Laws concerning criminal activity such as assault, cannot be trumped by Congress. Therefore, if a state passes a law that classifies what the TSA is doing as assault, it definitely is within their power. That is why the feds have to resort to threatening to shut down their airspace if the law is passed rather than challenge the law in court.

    "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." (Article VI, Clause 2)

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (10th Amendment)

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:24PM (#39138065) Journal
    Psssssst... hey buddy, the DEA doesn't care about state laws. They'll arrest you anyway if you find a way to get on their radar.
  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @01:34PM (#39138175) Journal

    > Several states have already decriminalized Marijuana possession

    And because the supreme court says the "commerce clause" is a total carte-blanche that allows the federal government to do anything they like anywhere they like, you will still be arrested by a swat team who will break down your door, shoot your dog, point guns at your kids, and grind your face into the ground.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by SaroDarksbane ( 1784314 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:06PM (#39138645)
    This is false. Despite promises by Obama to cut back on prosecutions of dispensaries who are complying with state law, the feds under his administration have become even more aggressive in raiding and prosecuting for marijuana than under Bush. A simple search will confirm this.
  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maxwell'sSilverLART ( 596756 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:14PM (#39138765) Homepage

    obama has not been as friendly to the states' wishes as he could have been, but you better believe that under R control, it was an all out war. currently, the war is mostly on-hold wrt MMJ.

    just keep that in mind when you go to vote.

    Keep this in mind, too:

    Yet the DEA’s raids continued. If anything, the pace picked up. Americans for Safe Access counts at least 41 raids on growers or dispensaries between Obama’s inauguration and the Ogden memo, almost five a month on average. As of late May, there had been at least 106 raids since the Ogden memo, nearly six a month. In fact, medical marijuana raids have been more frequent under Obama than under Bush, when there were about 200 over eight years. []

    And this:

    But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multiagency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

    The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide – many of them seriously ill or dying – who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House's war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. "The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again," says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama's efforts to circumvent state law: "Utter chaos." []

    And this:

    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

    In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, California’s s four U.S. attorneys sent letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 pot shops or their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The attorneys are scheduled to announce their coordinated crackdown at a Friday news conference. ...
    The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana following a two-year period during which federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors’ recommendations.

    The Department of Justice issued a policy memo to federal prosecutors in late June stating that marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:4, Informative)

    by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:27PM (#39138933) Journal

    I want to know: at what point do TSA regulations apply?

    Suppose I own an airplane. If I want to take my friend Bob up in my Cessna, I doubt the TSA is going to want to look up his butt or make him take his shoes off. Hell, I imagine I don't even have to let them know -- I just file a flight plan with my local airport and go.

    Now, what if Bob pays me $50 to take him from one place to another. Then does the TSA have to look up his butt?

    What if I make a point of giving anybody who pays me $50 a ride in my airplane?

    What if I have a bigger airplane and carry people around ten at the time?

    When do they start insisting on me following their rules?

    For the record, the TSA does have some presence at local airports (although right now it's mostly only fences/locked gates and such so unauthorized people can't get to aircraft, although they appear to be very keen on increasing that presence.) However, if you have a private pilot certificate, you are not allowed to fly for pay. (You can split the cost of the flight, but no more than that.) You have to get a commercial certificate to fly for pay, and even then you can't fly people, on schedule, for pay: for that you need an airline transport certificate. So while there's not a law against you flying Bob for $50, there are regulations that will end up in you losing your flight certificate if you do so and get caught. Chartered commercial aircraft still have some wiggle room around this, which is why politicians and businessmen tend to like them so much, but there are efforts to bring them into the same general scope of regulation that commercial aircraft have. But generally, if an individual can afford the airplane, it's probably too small to have the sort of destructive possibilities that really get the TSA excited. Exceptions (John Travolta) exist, but are rare.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:33PM (#39139005)

    There is no doubt that much of CA's crop goes to supply the rest of the USA with good pot. I personally know of a farm that, on principle, doesn't sell in state. They aren't 'stinking law abiders'.

    CA has basically stated that they will not spend a dime of state money stopping their number 1 cash crop. Local juries refuse to convict even in federal court.

    The DEAs budget is not big enough to act as local cop for all of CA.

    And there we are.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:2, Informative)

    by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:47PM (#39139185)
    Fyi, while I and some historians agree with your assessment regarding the root cause of the Civil War, the states rights argument is blasphemy in the California State University system these days. I experienced it first hand from multiple History professors.

    It's a sad day when politics and faith start overruling facts and the historical record in what is considered to be a respectable University system. I suspect it's just a matter of time until the censors start taking books off the shelves and deleting information that disagrees with their various paradigms and monetary interests. Oh wait, they already have.
  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:54PM (#39139285) Homepage

    Your reading of Civil War history is flat out incorrect.

    * November 1860: Abraham Lincoln gets elected on a platform of stopping the expansion of slavery into territories that didn't already have it - i.e. When the federal government created states out of Arizona and New Mexico (which they weren't at the time), they'd be free states. His election campaign was centered around that argument, which was by far the biggest issue of the day, but he did not push for abolishing slavery in places where it already existed. This was significantly more moderate a position than what the notable abolitionists wanted.
    * Nov 1860-Feb 1861: Seven states secede from the United States and form the Confederacy, interpreting Lincoln's platform of not expanding slavery as a slippery slope towards abolishing slavery in their states. The rhetoric used to convince state legislatures to secede is very explicitly about slavery.
    * Mar 1861: Abraham Lincoln takes office. Notice that this happened after the Confederacy was already formed.
    * Apr 1861: South Carolina forces open fire on Fort Sumter, which has been beseiged for 5 months prior.
    There's no reasonable way to argue that the Confederacy did not start the war, and there's no reasonable way of reading the Confederacy's motives as being about anything other than slavery.

    In addition, Lincoln was very very careful not to threaten slavery in states that already had it, because if he had, he would have lost the support of Maryland (leaving Washington DC surrounded by enemies), Kentucky, and possibly the newly-formed West Virginia, which were slave-holding states that did not secede.The Emancipation Proclamation (which created the stated goal of freeing the slaves) wasn't until the war had been going on for over 2 years, and the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery wasn't passed until after the war was over.

    However, depending on when and where you received your education, it's quite possible that you got the version of the "War of Northern Aggression" in which Abe Lincoln threatened people's freedom and then sent William T Sherman to wreck everything the South had for no reason whatsoever. But that view of things is simply not supported by the documents we have.

    The Disunion [] series over at the New York Times has all sorts of excellent primary documents and articles by historians looking at almost every angle of the war, which I highly recommend.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tangential ( 266113 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:58PM (#39139309) Homepage
    Actually, the politician with the most consistent and favorable position on MMJ and M in general is Ron Paul and he is about as different from the typical Democrat as can be. Of course he's just about as different from the typical Republican too.
  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:04PM (#39139377)

    You're a moron and apparently not a student of history. The ownership of slaves was such a very minor issue in the beginning that it was virtually of no consequence. Which is why slavery wasn't outlawed prior to or during the onset of the war. Slavery did not become an issue until the southern states began negotiations with France and England for assistance. Lincoln, knowing the view of slavery in western Europe, decided to make slavery a much larger issue so that western Europe would back out of its assistance to the south.

    The major issue that kicked off the state's rights battle was actually trade. The southern states were selling cotton and tobacco to Europe, Britain specifically, because they were getting far better prices for their crops. The northern industrial complex was then being forced to purchased finished or partially finished goods from Europe which increased their manufacturing costs to nearly a prohibitive level. The nothern industrial states went before their brethren in congress and made complaints AGAINST capitalism and free enterprise. The fed issued "orders" to the southern states requiring them to sell their crops to U.S. based industries rather than European. The states said no and thus kicked off the the move to secede from the union, which, ultimately led to the fight for supremacy.

    How about you actually learn history before you open your mouth in an intellectual debate.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:4, Informative)

    by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:18PM (#39139505) Homepage
    I *do* own an airplane, so let me answer some of these questions for you.

    If I want to take my friend Bob up in my Cessna...

    Correct -- as long as you are not providing certain types of flight instruction (they want to know about students working on an initial pilot's license and certain advanced ratings like, IIRC, multi-engine), TSA doesn't care about flying a friend around for the fun of it.

    Now, what if Bob pays me $50 to take him from one place to another...What if I make a point of giving anybody who pays me $50 a ride in my airplane?

    TSA might not become involved, but the FAA would (if they found out). You see, the FAA doesn't allow just anybody to charge fees to fly someone around. General Aviation -- what most people think of when they think "Cessna" or "Piper" -- comes in several flavors. When you first become a licensed pilot, you get a "private pilot" license, a "sport pilot" license or a "recreational pilot" license. There are a number of differences in what you can do with each of these licenses, but they are similar enough to group them together for this discussion. Basically, these licenses allow you to fly your airplane for fun, but not for profit...and the FAA is very, very serious and very, very conservative in how they approach the meaning of "fun but not profit." In a nutshell, if you were going on a flight and you decided to invite a friend, you are PROBABLY (but not certainly) okay. However, if your friend comes to you with a request to go flying...well, don't let the FAA find out (they have busted pilots for receiving no more compensation than logging the flight time!). Even with a "commercial pilot" license (what I have) or an "airline transport pilot" ("ATP") license, unless you jump through a lot more hoops, THE EXACT SAME RESTRICTIONS APPLY . "General Aviation" is covered under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. If you are flying under Part 91, you can't carry passengers or cargo for hire although you can provide flight instruction...if you also hold a flight instructor certificate. I have known of instructors providing "flight instruction" to scenic locations, but you're seriously bending the regs if you try that, so be careful. If you want to legally carry passengers or cargo, you need to become licensed as an air taxi operator (Part 135) or a scheduled airline (Part 141). That's far, far easier said than done, and at that point, TSA will become involved.

    What if I have a bigger airplane...

    Unlike what your wife or girlfriend may have told you, size doesn't matter, at least not yet ;) A few years ago, TSA tried to mandate passenger screening for all aircraft weighing over 12,500 lbs. (what the FAA calls a "large" airplane). There was enough public outrage, notably from the National Business Aviation Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, that they withdrew that proposal. They've made some noise about revisiting that topic again, but so far, that's all it has been -- just noise.


  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:31PM (#39139651)
    Their ability to do that during the majority of flight is quite limited. The difference between stall speed and cruise speed at cruising altitude is on the order of tens of knots (for a 747-400 stall speed is ~425 knots and cruise speed 470-490 knots).
  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) < minus threevowels> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:34PM (#39139695)

    The TSA are wasting boatloads of money sexually assaulting and generally harassing everyone they can get their hand on.

    They are also spurring the economy! They have created a market for $250,000 scanner machines (without a safety study that would normally delay such devices). They have created a whole industry that now produces "TSA-approved" liquid bottles, TSA-approved luggage locks and laptop bags... And they nearly doubled prices of water/soda in the airport. So it's not just sexual assault.

  • Re:Supremacy Clause (Score:5, Informative)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @09:56PM (#39143193)

    Having grown up in Missouri and now living in California and having grown pot in both places.

    Let me tell you there is no comparison in stress level.

    Cops have checked on many of my recent associates. They look at the paperwork, count the plants and go away, often to the great annoyance of a busy body neighbor hiding behind their window shades. It's all about plant count, so we grow huge plants. I've got 30 cuttings under lights right now, usually 2-3 foot tall bushes when they go outdoors in 4 months or so. I'm keeping 6, just for personal smoke (there is no money in selling it locally and I don't grow enough to be worth shipping/smuggling.) Besides everybody I know back in MO that likes pot is growing indoors, year round and stressing.

    In Missouri even if you could find a cop to trust to stay bribed, there is no department of graft that fairly spreads the bribe money around. There is always one more department, and you never know when you will run into a boyscout. Besides, cops are generally untrustworthy. I wouldn't hire one to clean up the dog shit.

    In California your only worry is ripoffs, which you deal with by staying small and with big dogs and friendly, smoked out neighbors. Because as you are not (er, no longer) a criminal, armed to the teeth is also an option. An associate greeted some would be thieves with a 12 gauge, no charges, though the police did show up it was to take a description of the thieves (suburban wiggers, brown stains on pants and down pant legs.) He knew to say 'I felt my life was threatened'. No telling what would have happened if he had killed one.

The absent ones are always at fault.