California Passes Affirmative Consent Bill

SB 967 would establish standards for institutions of higher education in their handling of sexual misconduct cases.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – State senators unanimously passed SB 967 on Thursday, which would establish standards for institutions of higher education in their handling of sexual misconduct cases.

Specifically, the bill requires an affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity.

The bill states “‘Affirmative consent’ means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”

Additionally, the bill prohibits an accuser from claiming self-intoxication as a defense. It also covers victim incapacitation, including: the complainant was asleep or unconscious; incapacitated due to drugs, alcohol or medication use; or unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, reports the Boston Globe.

SB 967 is joint-authored by Senators Kevin de Leon and Hannah Beth Jackson; Principal co-authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal; and co-authored by Senators Jim Beall, Anthony Cannella, Noreen Evans, Cathleen Galgiani, Bill Monning, Fran Pavley, Norma Torres and Lois Wolk; and Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, Paul Fong, Lorena Gonzalez, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Nancy Skinner, Phil Ting, Bob Wieckowski and Das Williams.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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