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Relating to the investigation and punishment of certain sexual assaults to protective orders issued on the basis of certain sexual assaults, to crime victims' compensation and to the establishment of a state sexual assault prevention and response program for the Texas Military Department.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB 623, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a NEGATIVE impact of ($217,130) through the biennium ending August 31, 2023.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill. The Texas Military Department is required to implement a provision of this Act only if the legislature appropriates money specifically for that purpose. If the legislature does not appropriate money specifically for that purpose, the department may, but is not required to, implement a provision of this Act using other appropriations as available.
SB 623 would establish a sexual assault coordinator who would receive restricted and unrestricted reports of sexual assault within the Texas Military Department. The coordinator would help the victim to get services, treatment and contact local law enforcement (if the victim consents). Restricted reports do not involve law enforcement. This coordinator would contact the local law enforcement agency to collect evidence and then the Texas Rangers. The Rangers would send an officer to conduct the investigation of the incident. The government would, with the consent of the victim, be able to file a protective order on behalf of the victim. Such a military protective order would constitute to a court a clear and present danger of sexual assault or abuse or other harm to the applicant.
SB 623 would then require the adjutant general or coordinator to submit a report to the relevant members of the legislature with aggregate data that can be used to statistically analyze this program and the Texas Military Department as a whole.
SB 623 seeks to provide a third-party impartial investigator to address the issues of sexual assault within the Texas military forces (Texas National Guard, Texas Air Guard, and Texas State Guard) by involving the Texas Rangers in the investigation once a formal complaint has been made. This would allow an impartial investigation outside the military chain of command and would aid in bringing justice to victims of sexual assault within the state military. SB 623 would give victims several different methods of reporting a sexual assault and promotes their individual liberty and personal responsibility, not only to care for themselves but to protect their career by getting an impartial investigation outside the state military hierarchy. Texas Action supports SB 623.