Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science


Ryan LaRochelle

Committee Members

Amy Fried, Robert Glover, Brian Pitman

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


This thesis analyzes the effects of social movements, specifically the #MeToo Movement, on state legislation. To do so, this thesis examines the timing and processes of two cases of passed legislation in Missouri and Texas. Though the #MeToo Movement was founded in 2006, the height of the movement in 2017 provided an open policy window in which political actors and entrepreneurs were able to pursue their prepared proposals. In Missouri, the rise of #MeToo inspired political ally Senator Holly Rehder to first publish a personal essay detailing her experience with sexual assault before sponsoring and introducing Senate Bill 775. This bill provides the “Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights” and includes clearly stated directions and rights to victims of sexual assault. The prompt action, collaboration, and prepared proposals that Senator Rehder pursued resulted in successful legislation. In Texas, Representative Victoria Neave sponsored and introduced House Bill 21 in the wake of #MeToo. This bill extends statute of limitations applicable to a sexual harassment complaint filed with the Texas Workforce Commission. Though this bill was successfully enacted, Neave’s crucial mistakes such as hesitation to take advantage of the open policy window, the creation of a new task force, and a previous successful legislative session, led to a less robust legislative outcome. The ability for social movements to affect political outcomes rely heavily on the timing of policy windows, the relationships between political allies and external actors, the number, type, size, and location of events, and political entrepreneurs. The comparison of the presented case studies highlight the differences in these aspects and identify how they lend themselves to differing political outcomes