On Wednesday, the Texas House voted 142-0 to strengthen its anti-sexual harassment policies. The policy will mandate training and allow a legislative committee with subpoena power to investigate complaints.
In the past, complaints had gone to the House Committee on Administration, of which the committee stated it had only a few sexual harassment claims over the last few years.
The Senate has also moved to revise its policies; however, alleged victims criticize the new policies as they offer little recourse for victims. Republican Charles Schwertner won re-election but resigned after being accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a graduate student. Rep. Blake Farenthold also resigned in 2018 amid similar accusations.
Four years earlier in 2014, a lawsuit was filed by former Farenthold aid Lauren Greene, who alleged the congressman had discussed sexual fantasies about her and also stated at a staff meeting that a lobbyist had propositioned him for a threesome with Greene.
The lawsuit went on to add that Farenthold would repeatedly compliment her on her appearance and joke that he hoped his compliments would not be construed as sexual harassment. Farenthold spent $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle the suit with Greene in an out-of-court settlement.
The #MeToo movement has definitely made its way into the corporate and business world over the last couple years and it has now penetrated state and federal governments.
The House of Representatives and the Senate on Capitol Hill have both passed legislation on how sexual harassment is handled – including holding lawmakers liable for paying for settlements out of their own pockets. The bill is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.
The #MeToo movement bashed Congress last year for having sexual harassment laws that allowed members of Congress to pay settlements with taxpayer dollars. The law also did not make public the members’ names who made the settlements.
Tell us what you think.
Sources: Texas Legislature – Texas Gov, Business Insider