Several bills aimed at helping survivors clear first hurdle at Capitol
by: Steffi Lee
Posted: Mar 27, 2019 / 06:38 PM CDT / Updated: Mar 27, 2019 / 09:12 PM CDT
AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Former Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis says she is encouraged by the work on preventing sexual assault at the Texas Capitol.
“I feel like we’ve had some progress,” Davis said. “This session, there’s been a tremendous amount of effort advanced on preventing and appropriately responding to sexual assault, including a large amount of money that was set aside in the Senate and House versions of the budget to make sure that we’re addressing our rape kit backlog and we’re providing the kind of support to survivors that is needed.”
Several college students, some of who are members of Davis’ group, Deeds Not Words, have testified at the Capitol this session advocating for college and university campuses to develop policies related to sexual harassment and assault.
This is part of House Bill 1735, filed by State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. The bill was recently voted out of committee. House Bill 8, filed by State Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, which addresses the state’s rape kit backlog, has also been voted out of committee.
Senate Bill 586, by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would mandate peace officers get up to date and trauma-informed training for sexual assault investigations. This bill also cleared its first step this week.
Davis and students from her group outlined bills aimed at sexual assault prevention as part of the organization’s 2019 legislative agenda at the Capitol Wednesday during a rally.