On Thursday, the California State Assembly passed the nation's first "Yes Means Yes" bill, which was passed by the State Senate in May and is now waiting to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
As previously reported, Senate Bill 967 sets a standard of requiring "affirmative consent" in sexual assault investigations, which means that the students in question must have affirmed to each other verbally or physically that they wanted to have sex with one another. It's different from the previous "No Means No" mantra that many college campuses went by, which often meant that the person alleging that they had been sexually assaulted was penalized for not saying specifically that they didn't want to have sex. Additionally, under affirmative consent, "Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent."
It's unclear whether Brown will sign the bill, but student activists at California's many state colleges are rejoicing and the bill's sponsor, Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), was not hedging when he told the San Jose Mercury News that it represents a "paradigm shift."
"If the governor signs it, this will lead the entire country, the nation," de Leon said. "It's very difficult to say no when you're inebriated or someone slips something into your drink."
The governor has until September 30 to sign the bill.
Image via Aidan Morgan/Flickr