Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown signs ‘affirmative consent’ sex assault bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed nationally watched legislation requiring California colleges to adopt rape-prevention policies that include an “affirmative consent” standard for sexual assault, his office said Sunday.

The standard puts responsibility on someone engaging in sexual activity to obtain an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement from his or her partner.

The measure, Senate Bill 967, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, comes in response to increasing public attention on sexual assaults on college campuses.

“As the father of a young college-age daughter, I was stunned, I was quite surprised when I read the statistic that 20 percent of young women have been sexually assaulted on a college campus,” de León, the incoming Senate leader, said last month.

“These are our daughters, they are our sisters, they are our nieces.”

Brown signed the measure without comment. It was one of dozens of bills his office said Sunday he had acted on.

Brown also signed legislation reducing the penalty for possession for sale of crack cocaine to eliminate sentencing disparities in California law between crack and powder cocaine.

Senate Bill 1010, by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, erases a distinction advocates called racially charged. Existing law calls for three to five years of incarceration for violators caught intending to sell crack cocaine, but two to four years for powder.

Republican lawmakers and law enforcement groups opposed the measure. Some critics said, if anything, the punishment for powder cocaine should be increased.

Brown also signed Senate Bill 1174, by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, to put on the 2016 ballot a measure to repeal Proposition 227, the 1998 initiative that restricted bilingual instruction in California.

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