SB 968

85(R) - 2017
Senate State Affairs
House Higher Education
Senate State Affairs
House Higher Education
Family Values
Higher Education

Vote Recommendation

Vote No; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Kirk Watson


Sylvia Garcia
Charles Perry
Judith Zaffirini


Jeff Leach


Jessica Farrar

Bill Caption

Relating to requiring certain public and private institutions of higher education to provide students and employees an option to electronically report certain offenses to the institution.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

Under current law, institutions of higher education are required to create a policy on campus sexual assault that includes procedures for reporting and responding to allegations. SB 968 would also require institutions of higher education to facilitate an electronic reporting system for any allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking committed against or witnessed by a student or employee, regardless of the location at which the alleged offense occurred and would also allow the report to be made anonymously.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Allowing reports to be made anonymously is a system that is ripe for abuse. It is easily foreseeable that anonymous reports will be made out of jealousy or perhaps revenge for a broken up relationship. People should not be able to make serious anonymous accusations that have the potential to disrupt the life of a person alleged to have committed a crime. Anonymity allows people to levy false accusations with impunity.

Also, this bill places the reporting process in the wrong hands. As these offenses would be a violation of law, university administrative offices are not the appropriate repository for in such reports. These offenses should be reported to law enforcement as they are the ones who have the greatest ability to investigate and enforce the law. If the bill were limited only to public institutions collecting information of crimes on school grounds and requiring that the reports be made to law enforcement, and that anonymity would not be granted for demonstrably false accusations, we would withdraw our objection. As it currently stands, we oppose SB 968. We would withdraw our objection if the bill were amended to clarify that the right to anonymity would be withdrawn if it was later discovered that a person made a false or malicious report.

As a further addendum to our vote recommendation we note that we have spoken at length with the offices of the Senate author and House sponsor and we appreciate and understand that their intent is to make reporting of these crimes easier. Our hope is to see the bills move forward with the substance of their intent intact but with less room for negative unintended consequences.