SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – The California State Senate has passed a bill that would require written or verbal consent be established before people engage in sex on California campuses.
SB 967 would establish the affirmative consent standard on all state-run college campuses in California. The consent is defined as "an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity…Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent. Nor does silence mean consent."
The bill says affirmative consent cannot be given by anyone who's incapacitated by alcohol, drugs or a mental or physical condition. Once given, consent 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," reads the bill.
The legislation co-author says the proposal is aimed at changing a culture where he says one in five women on college campuses are sexually assaulted.
"I think this is really critical that we create a culture that's respectful of women, that we create protocols that are transparent," said State Senator Kevin de León. "SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only 'yes' means 'yes.'"
But not everyone is on board with the bill.
"I think it's a bad idea," former sex crimes prosecutor Steve Meister told our CBS Los Angeles affiliate. Meister feels the issue of consent and sexual assault allegations should be left to law enforcement.
"You don't take a report of a major felony to a university student affairs officer who's used to dealing with problems arising from keg parties, you go to the cops," Meister said.
The bill in now under review in the State Assembly after passing the Senate last month.