Texas State legislators urge Congress to pass "I Am Vanessa Guillen" Act
HOUSTON - This week marks one year since the disappearance of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood.
On Tuesday, she was remembered at the Texas State Capitol where several bills honoring the Houstonian are advancing. State legislators and her family gathered to address the proposals. There was also a resolution to urge Congress to pass the "I Am Vanessa Guillen" Act.
TIMELINE: From Vanessa Guillen's disappearance to Fort Hood review findings
"They honor her. They honor us. It keeps us going. It drives us to push harder towards -- to get the legislation passed," said Mayra Guillen, Vanessa's sister.
State Representative Christina Morales of Houston introduced the resolution.
"Because this is a federal issue, we're limited to what we can do at the state level, but one thing that we can do is acknowledge this horrifc tragedy for the family. This is like our sympathy card to the family to file this resolution," Morales explained.
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The "I Am Vanessa Guillen" Act was first introduced in September and did not advance. The bill is expected to be reintroduced on Thursday. Guillen's family attorney says the well-being of our service members is at stake.
"[Service members] afraid to speak up and, I keep on saying this, they're not afraid to take a bullet, but they're afraid to speak up about sexual harrassment and sexual assault. That's really disturbing," said Natalie Khawam.
MORE: 'She will not die in vain': Family of Vanessa Guillen reacts to Fort Hood firings
With those state measures moving forward, Mayra hopes Houstonians will contact their federal lawmakers.
"Ask them to support the bill, how vital it is to all of our military members to be protected," Mayra added.
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State legislators also presented other bills honoring Vanessa, including a bill to name a part of Highway 3 in Harris County, the Vanessa Guillen Memorial Highway, another to designate September 30, her birthday, as Vanessa Guillen Day in Texas, and a bill to protect Texas State Military members from sexual assault.
For a full list of this week's events to honor Vanessa Guillen, click here.