News Roundup: 20 Bills Addressing Sexual Assault Filed In Texas Legislature

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraFebruary 5, 2019 1:21 pm

Members of advocacy groups are praising the Texas Legislature’s focus on support for victims of sexual assault this session.

“This issue requires the political will of elected officials, it requires the political will of leaders across the state of Texas, and at the local level,” Texas Association Against Sexual Assault CEO Rose Luna said at a Monday press conference.  “I’d like to say that I think we are starting to see that movement happen with the base budget here at the 86th Legislature.”

State lawmakers have filed 20 bills addressing sexual assault, including funding for crisis centers, the storage of forensic rape kits and more.

Galveston County is targeted in two new lawsuits against the state’s efforts to purge voter rolls, Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall reports.

The suit filed by the ACLU and other groups says Galveston County’s voter registrar sent out letters to at least 92 registered voters asking for proof of citizenship.

Civil rights lawyer Chiraag Bains calls the letters discriminatory. “The letters essentially ask U.S. citizens to prove that they are citizens and they are targeted at a certain set of citizens, that is people who were not born in this country. So, this is, in effect, national origin discrimination,” Bains says.

Of the 92 letters Galveston County sent out, two-thirds were sent to people who officials now know are citizens.

Officials in four other Texas counties are also being sued, along with the Texas Secretary of State and Texas Director of Elections.

Five people in the Houston area are confirmed as having measles. Three of those cases are in Harris County.

Health officials say two boys under two years old, and a 25 to 35-year-old woman are infected.

All three live in northwest Harris County, although officials couldn’t disclose whether the cases are related.

Infectious disease expert Dr Peter Hotez calls the cases concerning.

“When measles epidemics have occurred . . . to me that could be a potentially worrisome sign that this outbreak in Harris County might be continuing for a while,” he says.

Dr. Hotez says his research with Baylor College of Medicine identified Harris County as a hot-spot for parents opting out of vaccinations for their children.