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Representative Cissna Leading State Bill to Discourage TSA pat-downs
Published: 03/24/2011 17:05:00
Air travel is a critical form of transport in Alaska; with many communities only accessible by air or sea, including Juneau. Last month, Alaska State Representative Sharon Cissna (D) chose to take the ferry instead of flying when she felt the security measures at the Seattle airport went too far when she was asked to submit to a full body pat-down search.

"At that very moment, all I could think of is my husband and I talked about that, we decided what I would do if this ever happened again. And I know exactly what to do; and it's no." said Cissna when she got off the ferry in Juneau on February 24th.

Following the incident, Representative Cissna has co sponsored a bill that urges the TSA to reconsider its use of pat-down searches. This week she held a public meeting to hear from others who've had similar experiences.

"Reaching out to people, and to getting the stories, to listening to the stories. To find out what is going on here. And what is it in our democracy that we can do to change laws that don't make sense." Explained Cissna

Valerie DeLaune is concerned about how she will handle a possible search when she next travels: "A couple of months ago I took a temporary job with Department of Natural Resources, I have to go to a public meeting in Petersburg. And it's an extremely important meeting to the state. And it didn't occur to me until afterwards that I was going to have to go through TSA. Ever since I realized that I was going to have to potentially be subject to this, I have been having panic attacks."

Representative Cissna says that Alaskans fly 8 times more than other states: "To let the lawmakers at the national level know what's going on here in Alaska where in fact flight is so much more important than it is in lower states."

The TSA is planning a trip to Alaska this summer to explain some of their current security protocols to the public.

By: Mikko Wilson -