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Lawmaker pushes for road-side search changes

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Two DPS troopers were fired this year after conducting cavity searches on women, during traffic stops. Now state lawmakers want to make changes to the laws on how far officers can go when it comes to hands-on searches.

House Bill 49 would require officers to obtain a search warrant, before they could conduct an invasive search of a suspect's body.

In two separate incidents, in different parts of the state, DPS troopers performed invasive road-side searches of women during traffic stops.

After lawsuits were filed, both female troopers were fired.

Now a state lawmaker says what those troopers did should be illegal, because they did not have a search warrant.

"I just don't believe that an arrest incident to a traffic stop ought to result in a body cavity search," Representative Harold Dutton Jr. said.

Dutton, a Democrat from Houston, filed House Bill 49 on July 8. Dutton says he was appalled that one of the incidents happened in the Houston area.

"That doesn't sound like America to me. That doesn't sound like any reasonable stop," he said.

Dutton says he hasn't faced any opponents of the bill, but time isn't on his side. Only two weeks remain in the second special session and his bill is just now getting a hearing. Governor Perry has not added HB 49 the call, Dutton is hoping if he receives enough support that will change.

"Even if this bill doesn't pass, that it at least sends a message to DPS and other law enforcement that that's absolutely...that Texans oppose this whole idea," Dutton said.

A hearing was scheduled to be held Monday evening on HB 49. No action has been taken.

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