Higher Ed Committee Votes on College Sex Assault Bill

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The legislature\’s higher education and employment advancement committee voted on a bill Thursday that aims reduce sexual assault on college campuses and ensure that victims provided with the services they need.

(The bill appeared to have overwhelming support from members of the committee, although the votes will not be finalized until 5:30 p.m.)

Prior to the vote, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle spoke in favor of the measure. \”This is one of the most important bills I\’ve had the privilege of working on,\’\’ said Rep. Tim LeGeyt, R-Canton. \”When we see the number of people who came to testify and shared the experiences they had….the urgency is evident. We need to do whatever we can to limit this kind of tragedy.\”

During a hearing on the bill in February, lawmakers heard emotional testimony from the mother of a University of Connecticut student. The woman told legislators that her daughter was victimized by a \”distinctly ineffective response\” by UConn employees and administrators last fall after she was sexually assaulted at a university-affiliated fraternity.

House Bill 5029 would allow victims to report incidents of sexual assault anonymously, provided that doing so does not violate state or federal law. The bill would also require each institution of higher education to establish a trained sexual assault response team for each of its campuses and to work with sexual assault clinics to ensure victims have access to medical care.

Committee co-chairwoman Roberta  Willis, D-Salisbury, said Connecticut is poised to become a national leader on sexual assault prevention with the passage of the legislation.

The measure is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives before the legislative session ends on May 7.



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