SB 969

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

Vote Recommendation

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


Kirk Watson


Sylvia Garcia
Borris Miles
Charles Perry
Judith Zaffirini


Jeff Leach

Bill Caption

Relating to requiring certain public and private institutions of higher education to provide amnesty to students who report incidents of sexual assault.

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 969 would require amnesty from any disciplinary action for a student that reports such an incident (as a victim or witness).

Vote Recommendation Notes

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 We would withdraw our objection if amended to stipulate that amnesty would be withdrawn if it was later discovered that an amnestied person made a false or malicious report or a report not in good faith.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.