News Roundup: Gymnasts Who Survived Abuse Want Texas Lawmakers To Strengthen Accountability

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 14, 2019 2:48 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Gymnasts who survived abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar want Texas lawmakers to strengthen protection of children.

A bill before the state legislature would extend the civil statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits arising from child sexual abuse. But a version of the measure that passed the Texas House removed language that could hold institutions associated with the abuser accountable too.

Jordan Schwikert says she was abused by Nassar at Karolyi Ranch in Texas – the training site for the USA Gymnastics National Team.  She told state senators Monday that organizations also have to be held responsible.

“It is not enough to just hold abusers accountable for their horrific actions, we must also look at the institutions and what they have failed to it. Accountability is the only path to real change and we must stand together to demand it,” Schwikert says.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Austin Democrat Kirk Watson, added language back into the bill that would hold organizations accountable.

It’s not clear whether the bill’s House author, Republican State Rep Craig Goldman, would accept the modified version.

Former Democratic Congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones announced on Twitter that she plans to run again in 2020.


In 2018, the U.S. Air Force veteran lost a tight race to Republican incumbent Will Hurd to represent the 23rd Congressional District. Now she hopes to challenge Congressman Hurd again.

“Last November I came up a little bit short in my run for Congress – 926 votes. But I’ve never been one to back down because the promise of our country is worth fighting for,” Ortiz Jones wrote.

The 23rd Congressional district includes the majority of the Texas border with Mexico, stretching from San Antonio to just outside El Paso.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a new rule that would require citizenship verification for housing assistance. As Andrew Weber with KUT News reports, housing authorities and advocates say the rule could lead to family separations.

HUD currently allows noncitizens to live in public or subsidized housing with citizens who are eligible for benefits, but the proposed rule would rescind that coverage for current recipients – and any going forward. Those currently living in so-called mixed-status homes who don’t have a citizen as the head of household will be evicted if the rule takes effect –  unless they’re over the age of 62. Michael Roth of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, says that could affect mixed-status families receiving housing benefits in Austin.

 “When you’re talking about current residents and the potential to have families being displaced – and families with eligible citizens and eligible residents being displaced – that that can come across as being harsh. And we have concerns about the impact of that for families and for our community,” Roth said.

HUD says the policy is meant to keep the agency in line with the agency’s existing policy of providing benefits only to eligible U.S. citizens. The rule is in a public comment period until July 9.