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This bill would infringe on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility by mandating that institutions of higher education not otherwise discipline students who report an alleged incident of sexual assault. This leads to the foreseeable consequence that there will be increased incidents of false or malicious reports.
The bill does require that a report be made in good faith, however it does not define what good faith means for the purposes of this legislation. The bill further goes on to stipulate that once an amnesty has been given it can not be revoked. So if a person made a report and was given amnesty, even if it was later discovered that person acted in bad faith there could be no disciplinary action taken. The broad language of this bill simply leaves too much opportunity for mischief and bad faith reporting that could result in serious negative consequences for an innocent person with little to no consequences for the bad faith reporter. For these reasons we oppose SB 969. We would withdraw our objection if amended to stipulate that amnesty would be withdrawn if it was later discovered that an amnestied person made a false or malicious report or a report not in good faith.
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.