New Hampshire is known as the first-in-the-nation state because of its leadoff presidential primary. But the Granite State is leading the nation in another regard, as well: getting tough with touchy feely airport screeners.
The Republican dominated New Hampshire House of Representatives passed Thursday an amended bill designed to crack down on the Transportation Security Administration.
The amended version of HB 628 requires state and local law enforcement officials to document complaints made by citizens against TSA agents. The measure would also create a state database to track cases of reported abuse by TSA agents.
With its enhanced body searches and full body scans, the TSA has become a target of libertarian activists who believe the TSA’s policies and actions violate their civil rights.
“I would like to thank the members of the House who supported this bill for understanding the need to protect passengers and transportation vehicles while also respecting basic civil rights and decency,” said Carolyn McKinney, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire. “With the database created by this bill, the State of New Hampshire will be shining the light of public scrutiny on TSA officials, which will hopefully lead to their more respectful behavior toward citizens in New Hampshire—perhaps even across the country.”
An early hearing on the bill in March generated a heated exchange between a Democratic lawmaker and a witness. Rep. Laura Pantelakos (D-Portsmouth) told the witness that he had a choice not to fly if he didn’t want to submit to enhanced pat downs at the Manchester airport.
“F—K you!” barked the man back.
That early version of the bill would have classified some TSA agents as sexual predators but the measure was eventually watered down to attract more votes.
The measure now moves on to the Senate.