Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Thursday, September 20, 2018, addressing the news media at Edinburg City Hall after being named a Transparency Champion by the Texas Press Association for his record of supporting the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act.
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Featured: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who is a member of the Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs, on Thursday, March 1, 2018, greeted constituents who participated in the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at the McAllen Country Club.
Photograph By SILVER SALAS
Featured, from left: Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Vice-President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, at Canales’ District Office in Edinburg on Monday, December 14, 2015.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
An Open Government seminar, offered by the Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, will take place on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Avenue, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. “Access to public records gives our citizens the opportunity to participate in public life, help set priorities, and hold their governments accountable. A free flow of information can be an important tool for building trust between a government and its citizens. Public access to our government’s work is a fundamental human right,” said Canales. “Democracies die behind closed doors. The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people’s right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately.”
About 300 11th-grade high school students and their fathers and/or mentors from throughout South Texas participated in the Together in Educational Success (TIES) conference at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in early April. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, along with the City of Edinburg, promote the best interests of UTRGV and the UTRGV School of Medicine though its extensive legislative lobbying efforts before the UT System Board of Regents, the Texas Legislature, and Congress.
Photograph Courtesy MARCI CALTABIANO
Possible action on several current and new job creation strategies being considered by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation will take place beginning at noon on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in the Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, the EEDC has announced. The two items scheduled to be deliberated in open session are interlocal agreements with the City of Edinburg regarding Project Domain and the city’s soccer park. In executive session, the following issues will be reviewed: Project Urban; Project Grindstone; the monumentation at the North Industrial Park; Project Square; Project Quest; and a development agreement with VICA Enterprises, L.P.
Featured, seated from left: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission, fields questions on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives from Steve Taylor, the publisher and editor of the online publication, The Rio Grande Guardian.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Children who are victims of sexual assault now have 15 years instead of five years to bring civil lawsuits against alleged sex offenders or others who are liable for the injuries sustained as a result of such crimes, said Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, who supported House Bill 189, which became state law on September 1, 2015. House Bill 189, which was approved by the Legislature late last spring, also removed any statute of limitations on the criminal prosecution of suspected serial rapists, whether their victim is a child or an adult. “I have a proven record in the Texas Legislature of supporting the creation of laws, policies, and new funding that protect crime victims and prosecute criminals,” said Muñoz. “I have no pity for rapists, child molesters, or other sexual predators, and I never place the blame of these victims because it is never their fault.” Prior to the passage of HB 189, there was a 10-year statute of limitations in the criminal prosecution of sex offenders who were considered serial rapists. A statute of limitations is generally defined as a law that sets a time limit for bringing certain kinds of legal action. Sexual assault is generally defined as any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another. In 2014, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 18,756 sexual assaults in the state, an increase of 5.1 percent over 2013. House Bill 189, effective September 1, 2015, was needed because of the seriousness of these crimes and the special circumstances that can limit when these victims are ready to speak out about the crime, according to the bill analysis by the House Research Organization. Despite these circumstances, a measure of justice always should be available to victims of these crimes, the HRO report stated. “The significance of HB 189 removing the statute of limitations for serial rape cases is well-documented in the bill analysis,” Muñoz emphasized. “The House Research Organization noted that his vital new protection is tremendously important for fighting sexual assault and violence against women because it encourages survivors to come forward to report their cases, preventing those convicted from attacking again.” Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, the author of HB 189, provided some of her key perspectives soon after she first filed the legislation on November 10, 2014, which was approved by the Legislature on June 1, 2015, and signed into law by the governor on June 18, 2015. “Rape is a horrible crime that is not only physical but mental,” said Thompson. “According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, sexual assault is a crime in which the assailant uses sexual contact to inflict humiliation or to exert power and control over the victim. Currently, there are 1.8 million survivors of sexual assault in Texas.” As for the civil lawsuit aspects of HB 189, Muñoz, an attorney, said any crime victim may be able to seek monetary damages against people who caused them harm. Muñoz, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which heavily influences the shaping of the $200+ billion state budget, was a coauthor of another new state law, enacted as a result of House Bill 10, that gives law enforcement in Texas more power to fight human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that preys most fiercely on women and children. “Human trafficking is modern day slavery, which also exposes their victims to sexual exploitation,” said Muñoz, who in 2012 was named to the groundbreaking Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking, which also included Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “One of the results of HB 10 is that even if a victim is an undocumented immigrant, the power of Texas shall be brought to bear to protect the powerless who are forced into the illegal sex trade,” said Muñoz. Muñoz, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which heavily influences the shaping of the $200+ billion state budget, was a coauthor of another new state law, enacted as a result of House Bill 10, that gives law enforcement in Texas more power to fight human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that preys most fiercely on women and children. “Human trafficking is defined as a crime against humanity, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them,” said Muñoz. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad, according to the United Nations. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.