Interviews with current and former lawmakers and legislative aides indicate sexual harassment regularly goes unchecked at the Texas Capitol.
Earlier this year, the Texas Tribune’s Sold Out series examined how state policies – including a severely underfunded child welfare system – failed to help child sex-trafficking victims. Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system, and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — which includes the state’s first-ever Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation.
Uresti, a personal injury attorney, has been entwined in a complicated saga involving FourWinds Logistics, which sold sand used in hydraulic fracturing
At issue is a controversial accounting maneuver intended by the Senate to free up $2.5 billion by strategically delaying a payment to the state’s highway fund.
A Texas House member’s proposal would cut $3 million from Gov. Greg Abbott’s homeland security budget and give it to victims of human trafficking.
By delaying a diversion of sales tax money for transportation projects, Texas Senate leaders said they had an extra $2.5 billion to spend on other needs.
“If there was ever a call to action for state officials to get serious about reforming foster care, this was it,” State Rep. Chris Turner said.
Top State leaders have remained silent on whether they’ll provide more resources for sex-trafficking victims or more funding for the child welfare system.
Texas only has one specialized treatment center that can care for up to 20 of the state’s estimated 80,000 child sex trafficking victims at any given time.
FBI and IRS agents raided the law offices of Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti on Thursday morning – confiscating documents and other items.