A bill that would require post-secondary institutions to adopt affirmative consent policies and procedures took another step forward on Wednesday.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously passed the bill, by a vote of 5-0 on Wednesday.
HB 151, sponsored by state Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque, was drafted in response to the events that occurred on the New Mexico State University basketball team about a year ago when three students on the team allegedly sexually assaulted another player as part of a hazing process. The bill requires all post-secondary institutions of higher education that receive public funding to adopt policies and procedures for trauma-informed affirmative consent.
Thomson said the bill has appeared before the legislature three times before but this bill is more narrow, as it only focuses on institutions of higher education. Previous iterations of the bill included affirmative consent training as part of K-12 sexual education classes.
Alexandria Taylor, expert witness and executive director of New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, said that the bill does not require college campuses to provide victim services but to have linkages with community organizations so the university can provide referrals.
State Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, asked how the students would learn about who to go to if they become the victim of some form of sexual assault.
Thomson said the bill requires mandatory training on the institution’s affirmative consent policies and procedures during freshmen orientation.
State Sen. Martin Hickey, D-Albuquerque, asked if there are consequences written into the bill for institutions of higher learning that fail to comply.
Taylor said there is not a consequence but the state Department of Higher Education would work with the post-secondary institutions that receive Title IX funding to ensure the institutions put policies and procedures into place.
The bill heads next to the Senate Judiciary Committee.