AUSTIN, Texas — Renaming a highway and designating "Vanessa Guillen Day" are among the Texas bills announced Tuesday to honor of the murdered Fort Hood soldier.
State Rep. Christina Morales and State Sen. Carol Alvarado, along with other Texas legislators, announced the new legislation in a news conference, saying they hope it will honor Guillen's memory and enact change and reform in the military community.
Alvarado said legislators unanimously approved HB 2556 to make Sept. 30, Guillen's birthdate, "Vanessa Guillen Day."
"Let us never forget who she was, what she stood for and her courageous example of thousands of others enlisted soldiers," Alvarado said.
During the news conference, Morales and Alvarado was joined by Guillen's family and other legislators to call on Congress to pass the Vanessa Guillen Act, or Senate Bill 623, in hopes of sexual assault and sexual harassment reform in the military.
Sen. Cesar Blanco who filed SB 623 said it will help military members report sexual harassment and sexual assault without fear of retaliation, lack of confidentiality, or concern that nothing will be done.
"With the Vanessa Guillen Act, Texas can lead by example in protecting our Texas military members from sexual assault and ensure swift justice is delivered for victims," he said.
Guillen disappeared from Fort Hood on April 22, 2020. Prior to her disappearance, she told her family she was being sexually harassed, but feared of retaliation from her superior if she spoke out, her family said.
Months later on June 30, Guillen's body was found in East Bell County.
Spc. Aaron David Robinson, the suspect in her case, shot and killed himself the day after her body was found. He reportedly killed Guillen in an armory room on Fort Hood.
Another suspect in the case, Cecily Aguilar, was arrested and charged over her alleged role in Guillen's death. Authorities say she reportedly helped her boyfriend, Robinson, bury Guillen's body.
"This ordeal opened our eyes to shocking gaps in the Army's procedure or lack thereof when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. It revealed a deeply-rooted systemic toxic culture of sexual harassment. We can do better. We must do better," Alvarado said.
A day prior, Fort Hood officials and Guillen's family unveiled the Vanessa Guillen Gate at the intersection of Rancier Avenue and Fort Hood Street. It leads to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, where Guillen served.
On May 10, HR 8270 will be introduced to U.S. Congress.
Follow all of 6 News' coverage on Vanessa Guillen's case below or click here.
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