Matt Rinaldi, named one of the “Worst Legislators of 2017” by Texas Monthly, has an abysmal voting record on protecting sexual assault victims. He has called the #metoo movement a “crazy opportunistic political attack.” Rinaldi was one of only five Texas legislators to vote against extending the statute of limitations for rape victims, which allows rapists to be prosecuted if they are identified through DNA or other means years after the crime. Even other Texas Republicans have criticized Rinaldi for his views on rape, with one Republican Texas legislator saying that Rinaldi believes that serial rapists “should have no fear of being forced to pay for such crimes in Texas.”
Rinaldi also worked to block support for sex trafficking victims and opposed increased penalties for indecent exposure and child abuse. Rinaldi even went as far as to vote against designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, one of only two Texas legislators to do so. Rinaldi is best known as the author of the Texas House version of the “bathroom bill” which bars transgender individuals from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity in public schools and buildings. Rinaldi also called ICE on immigration protesters at the State Capitol in 2017, then got in a physical fight with a Latino lawmaker whom Rinaldi reportedly threatened to shoot in the head.
Rinaldi was narrowly elected to his seat in 2016 by less than 1% of the vote after challenging the incumbent Republican from the right with the help of large contributions from a fracking billionaire. He currently has over $250K in campaign cash on hand. His district is in the northwest suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth and is majority-minority. His challenger is lawyer Julie Johnson, an Emily’s List candidate who has two children with her wife, a doctor.