News Roundup: House Sexual Harassment Workgroup To Release Policy Recommendations Early Next Month

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 19, 2018 2:22 pm

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

Members of the Texas House plan to issue recommendations on how to update their sexual harassment policy, by the first week of December. The guidelines were initially revised at the end of 2017. That was after The Daily Beast and The Texas Tribune found a pervasive culture of sexual harassment at the legislature, and few protections for victims. Retiring House Speaker Joe Straus also created a working group this past May to further address this issue. That group met on Friday and learned the results of a survey sent to all state representatives and their staff.

Dr. Noel Landuyt is the University of Texas at Austin analyst who directed the survey. He told lawmakers that survey respondents raised concerns about how to make the current policy more clear.

“How to make the policy better at explaining definitions, to be able to outline in a more precise manner how to file a complaint. A lot of interest in what is going to happen next. ‘If I file this, what is the timeline or consideration?’” Landuyt says these were some of the concerns raised by respondents.

Landuyt also described an issue that caught him by surprise: “People gave comments about harassment in the House: ‘What do we do about harassment internally.’ But external factors as well: people coming in, constituents, lobbyists, coming into the offices – how do we address that?’ Which is a little more tricky,” Landuyt says.

If Speaker Straus approves the working group’s final recommendations for the chamber’s sexual harassment policy, it will likely head to the House floor for a vote.

A week from Monday, early voting begins in the Houston area for a special election for Texas Senate District 6. It’s to fill the seat just vacated by Congresswoman-Elect Sylvia Garcia. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider reports on who’s vying to replace her:

Four candidates filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. They include Democratic State Representatives Carol Alvarado and Ana Hernandez, Democratic activist Mia Mundy and Republican activist Martha Fierro. Alvarado previously ran for the seat in a 2013 special election, forcing a runoff before losing to Sylvia Garcia.

Early voting begins Monday, Nov. 26. Election Day is Tuesday, Dec. 11.

A minor league baseball team in the Texas Panhandle has stumbled into a bit of controversy over its new moniker. The Amarillo Sod Poodles was the team name heard ‘round the internet when it was announced last week. But it turns out, while the team owns the trademark for Sod Poodles, the name “Amarillo Sod Poodles” belongs to another group: Stone Ranch Media, LLC.

President Dusty Green filed for the trademark mere days after Amarillo Professional Baseball announced the five finalists for the name of this San Diego Padres Double-A affiliate. Green spoke to KFDA, the local CBS station in Amarillo.

“Honestly, Sod Poodles just sounded like a good name and it was available,” Green said.

Tony Ensor, president and general manager of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, said in a statement the company is following the trademark process, and “We are not at all concerned, and will let the process play out.”