House OKs bill requiring warrants for body cavity searches

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AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas House has preliminarily approved a bill requiring police and law enforcement officials to get a search warrant before conducting body cavity searches.

Houston Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. said that although officers rarely search a person’s vagina or anal cavity, his bill would prohibit doing so without warrants.

Lawmakers’ unanimous voice vote Monday came two years after the state settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $185,000 with two women whose genitals were probed by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

The trooper was fired and criminally charged for the incident, which occurred in Irving. Still, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said “intrusive body searches without a warrant” have always been against department policy.

Dutton’s measure needs a final, largely ceremonial House vote before heading to the Senate.

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