AUSTIN -- A proposal to criminalize excessive touching by agents during airport security pat-downs returned to the Legislature on Wednesday, along with concerns that the federal government could ground all flights into and out of the state if it becomes law.The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on a bill by Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, that would make it illegal for security agents to intentionally touch travelers' private parts without probable cause.The Tea Party Republican introduced a much-publicized measure in 2011 that would have made it illegal for anyone conducting searches to touch travelers' private parts, even through clothing, and would have prohibited searches considered offensive "to a reasonable person."That bill passed the full House but died after federal officials threatened to close all Texas airports amid concerns that Transportation Security Administration personnel could face criminal charges just for doing their jobs.Simpson promised to renew his efforts in the current Legislature. But his new proposal is somewhat softer. It clarifies that security agents must be deliberately touching inappropriately rather than doing so incidentally.Simpson said his bill is more necessary than ever because traditional metal detectors at airports are being replaced with full-body scanners that "basically allow people to be viewed naked." He said he and others who object to that often have no choice but to endure pat-downs."The problem is this effort at security is really treating travelers, innocent people, as criminal suspects and making them submit to unreasonable, very intrusive searches," Simpson said.Security agents, he said, are "violating people's most sacred areas of their bodies."The committee could have sent the bill to the full House for consideration but left it pending. It also invited TSA representatives to testify, but they declined.Simpson acknowledged that Texas' official-repression laws already prohibit groping and inappropriate touching by airport screeners or any other security officials. But he said it is necessary to spell out restrictions because abuse of power during pat-downs is common.He provided a packet showing security officials performing exaggerated pat-downs on travelers and noted that a wounded Texas military veteran going through security was recently forced to remove his prosthetic legs."It's not only offensive. It's insane," Simpson said.Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, said some of the security officials in the pictures "seem to be enjoying the groping."Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said this year's version is more legally sound than the 2011 bill because it includes language on officials intending to grope during a pat-down. But he said it could still run afoul of federal regulations and may lead airports statewide to be shut down."If that happens, you destroy the Texas economy. You destroy our business growth," Oliveira said. "We would be paralyzed."Simpson said:"It was just a threat. I doubt they would do that."But Oliveira noted that the state's conservative elected officials often pick fights with the Obama administration and wondered whether this one goes too far.