AUSTIN, Texas — The Vanessa Guillen Act, also known as Senate Bill 623, was signed June 16 by Gov. Greg Abbott and will become state law on Sept. 1.
The bill was filed by Sen. Cesar Blanco around the one-year anniversary of Guillen's death. It aims to protect military members who report sexual harassment and sexual assault without fear of retaliation, lack of confidentiality or concern that nothing will be done.
"This landmark bill creates options for reporting and investigating military sexual assaults outside the chain of command and provides additional resources and protection for victims. The bill will put a stop to the culture of harassment, assault, and retaliation in our state military forces," he said in a statement.
Guillen was killed April 22, 2020 in a Fort Hood armory room by Spc. Aaron Robinson, according to a FBI criminal complaint. Robinson, with the help of his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar, dismembered Guillen's body and buried the remains near the Leon River in Bell County, the complaint alleges.
Her body was found on June 30, 2020. Robinson shot and killed himself the next day. Aguilar was charged in the case and is currently awaiting trail.
"Last year the military failed to protect Specialist Vanessa Guillén and countless others from sexual assault. Enough is enough," Blanco said in a statement. "It's clear that cultural changes are needed to protect our service members. The Texas Legislature stepped up. With Senate Bill 623, the Vanessa Guillén Act, Texas will lead by example in protecting our service members from sexual assault."
While this tackles the state level, U.S. Congressmembers re-introduced the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act with the same goal of allowing sexual harassment and sexual assault victims to report it outside the chain-of-command in the military.
Watch all of 6 News' coverage on Vanessa Guillen in the playlist below.