Dewhurst and the TSA
In May of 2011, the Texas State House passed a bill that would prohibit the TSA from performing full body pat downs. The legislation did allow for the entity to continue the normal pat downs and continue to use the full body scanners, but it would have made it a crime for the TSA to touch anyone in the genitals, even through their clothes.
The bill passed the House of the Texas Legislature in a unanimous vote and its senate sponsor was sure that he had 30 to 31 supporters in the Senate before asking Lt Governor David Dewhurst to bring it up for a debate. The Lt Gov agreed and the bill was brought up in session.
However, here's where things go bad. Both the House and Senate sponsors of the legislation claim that they were approached by TSA officials and told that if the legislation passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Perry, then all flights into and out of Texas would be halted. While the supporters claim an amendment was prepared to allow six months before implementation so that the TSA could adapt to those rules, they also claim that Lt Gov Dewhurst began working the senate floor in opposition to the bill while it was being debated.
Before long, the Senate sponsor received a notification that more than a dozen Senators had withdrawn their support in fear of a federal blockade of all Texas flights if the legislation passed. The bill was pulled back from the floor and not brought back up.
A month later, a special session of the Texas legislature was called by Lt Gov Dewhurst so that matters concerning the budget and redistrciting could be addressed. In a letter sent to Governor Perry requesting the session, Lt Gov Dewhurst also asked that the TSA bill be included as a subject that could be addressed. Unfortunately, the bill was not brought back up.
Looking through the campaign literature and interviews for Lt Gov Dewhurst, there is a consistent theme. The Lt Governor constantly promotes his role as State Senate leader as pivotal in the passage of numerous pieces of legislation. However, in this instance, he claims to be fully supportive of a measure that was pulled from consideration even though it passed the House unanimously and had more than the 20 Senators required for support.
Unfortunately, power goes both ways. If the Lt Governor was powerful enough to be as instrumental in the passage of legislation that he supports, he is certainly powerful enough to halt legislation he opposes.
The facts seem to indicate that Lt Gov Dewhurst did everything possible to kill the anti-TSA bill in the legislature while performing multiple public actions meant to convince the public that he supported the bill.
This gives us a very good glimpse of what to expect from Dewhurst if he wins the Republican nomination and eventual Senate seat in November. We can expect and blitz of statements supporting liberty and the free market, and a rash of actions doing the exact opposite. The only thing worse than a politician that says one thing and does another, is one that tries to convince you that the actions you see being carried out right before your eyes aren't actually happening.