- Texas Senate
Abbott made this call to action Tuesday, as part of a more sweeping plan to strengthen state sex trafficking and sexual harassment laws. His proposal, which would require approval from the Texas Legislature, would funnel $2 million into the Texas Rangers' Public Integrity Unit to focus on these issues.
In December, the Daily Beast reported that — according to former legislative staffers — Sen. Uresti constantly harassed women in the Capitol over the course of his 20-year political career. Some of the allegations against him: asking women about their underwear, forcibly kissing a reporter, giving inappropriate hugs, and being inappropriately flirtatious. The Daily Beast story also included sexual harassment allegations against Houston Senator Borris Miles. Both senators deny the allegations.
While Uresti and Miles are both Democrats, the state Democratic party has reminded relatively quiet about the accusations. In an email sent to the Current Tuesday, Texas Democrats' spokesman Tariq Thowfeek sent this statement:
"It's unfortunate that Texas has lacked the leadership to address this vile behavior for some time.
Regardless of political party, all people deserve the right to work in a place free of sexual harassment or misconduct. All Texans would benefit from resources and education to prevent harassment and abuse, and guidelines to report and address harassment when it does occur.
No politician should ever be above the law or play by their own set of rules."
However, a political group that focuses on electing female Democrats to office in Texas, Annie's List, has called for the resignation of both Democrat senators in the wake of these sexual harassment claims.
Abbott's announcement comes in the midst of an unrelated federal trial against Sen. Uresti, accusing him of participating in a "investment Ponzi scheme." One of the government's claims against him: Uresti had an extra-marital affair with a woman to "groom" her into investing in his company.
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