AUSTIN, TX — State lawmakers have introduced new legislation to protect Texas military members from sexual assault and sexual harassment in honor of slain Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
“As you all know, sexual assault is not something that’s new. It’s something that will continue to be a problem until we prioritize the safety of the victims,” said Texas Senator Cesar Blanco.
Senate Bill 623, also known as the Vanessa Guillen Act, would require a third-party independent investigation into sex-related offenses and a confidential recording option for sexual harassment, which would allow victims to file a formal complaint any time.
“Let us never forget who she was, what she stood for and her courageous example for thousands of other enlisted soldiers,” said Texas Senator Carol Alvarado.
State leaders also announced two more bills in honor of the slain soldier. The first would rename part of State Highway 3 after Spc. Vanessa Guillen while the second would make September 30, Spc. Guillen’s birthday, a holiday.
Natalie Khawam, attorney for the Guillen family, says if passed by both Texas chambers, the bills would serve as a reminder of Spc. Guillen’s legacy.
She’s hoping the efforts here will push Congress to pass federal legislation.
“What we saw today is true leadership. These legislators stepped up, and they did something quickly, correctly and efficiently. We hope our congressmen and women who do the same in the U.S/ Capitol,” said Khawam.
The attorney says the Vanessa Guillen Act will be introduced to the State House of Representatives on May 13.
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