The House has voted 58-9 in favor of HB 573, legislation from Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, to restrict the use of full-body imaging for airport security in Idaho. Hart told the House, “It’s my opinion that the use of these devices to screen every individual … would be an unreasonable search of those persons.” He also said he was concerned that the scanners might not be safe. “What if they harm our bodies?,” he asked. “What if they’re not medically sound? What if they’re going to cause cancer sometime down the road?”
Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, spoke out against the bill, citing the Christmas Day incident in which a Nigerian national concealing explosives in his underwear attempted unsuccessfully to take down a U.S. airplane. “This is a national security issue,” Durst said. The bomber’s concealed explosives would have been detected by a full-body imaging scanner, Durst said. “It’s about maintaining security for the United States. … What’s more important to us, security or privacy?” Rep. Russ Mathews, R-Idaho Falls, backed the bill, saying Americans shouldn’t sacrifice freedoms in the name of security. The bill now moves to the Senate.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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