AUSTIN – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Wednesday established a workgroup of House members to recommend additional steps to prevent and eradicate sexual harassment in the Legislature.
This workgroup will further the House's commitment to ensuring a safe and respectful environment by reviewing existing sexual harassment policies, researching best policies and practices from other states, and providing recommendations for any rule changes that will support a professional work environment.
The workgroup will build upon the work of the House Committee on Administration, which adopted a new sexual harassment policy in December. The new policy significantly clarifies ways that Texas House employees can identify and report sexual harassment and get assistance. The policy also requires House staff to undergo new anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. All current Members of the Texas House have completed that training as well.
Speaker Straus named Representatives Linda Koop of Dallas and Donna Howard of Austin as co-chairs of the new workgroup. The other members of the workgroup are Reps. Angie Chen Button, Tony Dale, Nicole Collier, Lina Ortega, Abel Herrero, Tom Oliverson, Gary VanDeaver and Gene Wu.
"This is the next step in our effort to make sure that sexual harassment is not tolerated at the Texas Capitol," Speaker Straus said. "Now that a stronger and more transparent sexual harassment policy is in place, this workgroup will recommend additional ways to make the legislative work environment safer."