January 30, 2023

Affirmative consent heads to House chamber next

The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse Wikicommons.

A bill that will require New Mexico health classes to include instruction on affirmative consent before and during sexual activity passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously, 9 to 0, on Monday.

HB 43, Affirmative Consent Policy in Schools, sponsored by House Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, will, if enacted, require affirmative consent to be taught across all New Mexico public and charter schools in either middle or high school health class. The bill also requires higher educational institutions to implement trauma-informed policies that meet an affirmative consent standard.

The bill, which has received broad bipartisan support in previous years, received very little discussion among committee members. House Rep. Andrea Reeb, R-Clovis, asked questions around if a higher education institution would initiate a criminal prosecution if the institution failed to meet the standard.

Alexandria Taylor, executive director of New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, explained the two parts of the bill and affirmed that the bill does not include criminal prosecution.

The bill heads to the House floor next.