Bill Text: TX SB576 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Engrossed


Bill Title: Relating to a reporting requirement for certain incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking at certain public and private institutions of higher education; creating a criminal offense; authorizing administrative penalties.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 6-3)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-05-17 - Left pending in committee [SB576 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-SB576-Engrossed.html
 
 
  By: Huffman, et al. S.B. No. 576
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a reporting requirement for certain incidents of sexual
  harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking at certain
  public and private institutions of higher education; creating a
  criminal offense; authorizing administrative penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 51, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter E-3 to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER E-3.  REPORTING INCIDENTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL
  ASSAULT, DATING VIOLENCE, AND STALKING
         Sec. 51.281.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Coordinating board" means the Texas Higher
  Education Coordinating Board.
               (2)  "Dating violence" means abuse or violence, or a
  threat of abuse or violence, against a person with whom the actor
  has or has had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate
  nature.
               (3)  "Postsecondary educational institution" means:
                     (A)  an institution of higher education, as
  defined by Section 61.003; and
                     (B)  a private or independent institution of
  higher education.
               (4)  "Private or independent institution of higher
  education" has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003.
               (5)  "Sexual assault" means sexual contact or
  intercourse with a person without the person's consent, including
  sexual contact or intercourse against the person's will or in a
  circumstance in which the person is incapable of consenting to the
  contact or intercourse.
               (6)  "Sexual harassment" means unwelcome, sex-based
  verbal or physical conduct that:
                     (A)  in the employment context, unreasonably
  interferes with a person's work performance or creates an
  intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or
                     (B)  in the education context, is sufficiently
  severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a
  student's ability to participate in or benefit from educational
  programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution.
               (7)  "Stalking" means a course of conduct directed at a
  person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's
  safety or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
         Sec. 51.282.  REPORTING REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN INCIDENTS.  
  (a)  An employee of a postsecondary educational institution, or,
  subject to Subsection (b), an officer of a student organization
  registered with a postsecondary educational institution, who
  witnesses or receives information regarding the occurrence of an
  incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or
  stalking alleged to have been committed by or against a person who
  was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the
  time of the incident shall promptly report the incident to the
  institution's Title IX coordinator or deputy Title IX coordinator.
         (b)  An officer of a student organization registered with a
  postsecondary educational institution is required to report an
  incident under Subsection (a) only if the officer witnessed or
  received information regarding the occurrence of the incident while
  acting in the officer's official capacity, including while on the
  premises of property owned by the student organization or at an
  event held or sponsored by the student organization.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), the report must
  include all information concerning the incident known to the
  reporting person that is relevant to the investigation and, if
  applicable, redress of the incident, including whether an alleged
  victim has expressed a desire for confidentiality or anonymity in
  reporting the incident.
         (d)  An employee of a postsecondary educational institution
  designated by the institution as a person with whom students may
  speak confidentially concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault,
  dating violence, or stalking shall, in making a report under this
  section, state only the type of incident reported and may not
  include any information that would violate a student's expectation
  of privacy.
         (e)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), a person is not
  required to make a report under this section concerning an incident
  in which the person was a victim of sexual harassment, sexual
  assault, dating violence, or stalking.
         Sec. 51.283.  ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.
  (a)  Not less than once per month, the Title IX coordinator of a
  postsecondary educational institution shall submit to the
  institution's chief executive officer a written report on the
  reports received under Section 51.282, including information
  regarding:
               (1)  the investigation of those reports;
               (2)  the disposition, if any, of any disciplinary
  processes arising from those reports; and
               (3)  the reports for which the institution determined
  not to initiate a disciplinary process, if any.
         (b)  The Title IX coordinator of a postsecondary educational
  institution shall immediately report to the institution's chief
  executive officer an incident reported to the coordinator under
  Section 51.282 if the coordinator has cause to believe that the
  health or safety of any person is in imminent danger as a result of
  the incident.
         (c)  At least once during each fall or spring semester, the
  chief executive officer of a postsecondary educational institution
  shall submit to the institution's governing body a report
  concerning the reports received under Section 51.282.  The report:
               (1)  may not identify any person; and
               (2)  must include:
                     (A)  the number of reports received under Section
  51.282;
                     (B)  the number of investigations conducted as a
  result of those reports;
                     (C)  the disposition, if any, of any disciplinary
  processes arising from those reports;
                     (D)  the number of those reports for which the
  institution determined not to initiate a disciplinary process, if
  any; and
                     (E)  any disciplinary actions taken under Section
  51.285.
         (d)  A report submitted under Subsection (c) is public
  information subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government
  Code, and a private or independent institution of higher education
  is a governmental body with respect to such a report for purposes of
  that chapter.
         Sec. 51.284.  IMMUNITIES.  (a)  A person acting in good
  faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of an
  incident described by Section 51.282(a) or who testifies or
  otherwise participates in a disciplinary process or judicial
  proceeding arising from a report of such an incident:
               (1)  is immune from civil or criminal liability that
  might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of those actions;
  and
               (2)  may not be subjected to any disciplinary action by
  the postsecondary educational institution at which the person is
  enrolled or employed for any violation by the person of the
  institution's code of conduct occurring in relation to the
  incident.
         (b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to a person who
  perpetrates or assists in the perpetration of the incident reported
  under Section 51.282.
         Sec. 51.285.  FAILURE TO REPORT OR FALSE REPORT; OFFENSES.  
  (a)  A postsecondary educational institution shall terminate the
  employment of an employee who:
               (1)  is required to make a report under Section 51.282
  and fails to promptly make the report without good cause, as
  determined by the institution; or
               (2)  with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly
  makes a report under Section 51.282 that is false.
         (b)  A postsecondary educational institution shall terminate
  the employment of the institution's Title IX coordinator or chief
  executive officer if the coordinator or officer fails to make a
  report as required under Section 51.283.
         (c)  A postsecondary educational institution shall suspend
  for at least one year or expel a student who:
               (1)  is required to make a report under Section 51.282
  and fails to promptly make the report without good cause, as
  determined by the institution; or
               (2)  with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly
  makes a report under Section 51.282 that is false.
         (d)  A person commits an offense if the person is an employee
  of a postsecondary educational institution and:
               (1)  is required to make a report under Section 51.282
  and knowingly fails to make the report; or
               (2)  with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly
  makes a report under Section 51.282 that is false.
         (e)  An offense under Subsection (d) is a Class B
  misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it
  is shown on the trial of the offense that the actor intended to
  conceal the incident that the actor was required to report under
  Section 51.282.
         Sec. 51.286.  CONFIDENTIALITY.  (a)  Unless waived in
  writing by the alleged victim, the identity of an alleged victim of
  an incident reported under Section 51.282:
               (1)  is confidential and not subject to disclosure
  under Chapter 552, Government Code; and
               (2)  may be disclosed only to:
                     (A)  the postsecondary educational institution to
  which the report is made as necessary to conduct an investigation of
  the report; or
                     (B)  a law enforcement officer as necessary to
  conduct a criminal investigation of the report.
         (b)  A disclosure under Subsection (a) is not a voluntary
  disclosure for purposes of Section 552.007, Government Code.
         Sec. 51.287.  RETALIATION PROHIBITED. (a)  A postsecondary
  educational institution may not discipline or otherwise
  discriminate against a student or an employee who in good faith:
               (1)  makes a report as required by Section 51.282; or
               (2)  cooperates with an investigation, a disciplinary
  process, or a judicial proceeding relating to a report made by the
  student or employee as required by Section 51.282.
         (b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to a student or an
  employee who:
               (1)  reports an incident described by Section 51.282(a)
  perpetrated by the student or employee; or
               (2)  cooperates with an investigation, a disciplinary
  process, or a judicial proceeding relating to an allegation that
  the student or employee perpetrated an incident described by
  Section 51.282(a).
         Sec. 51.288.  COMPLIANCE. (a)  The chief executive officer
  of each postsecondary educational institution shall annually
  certify in writing to the coordinating board that the institution
  is in substantial compliance with this subchapter.
         (b)  If the coordinating board determines that a private or
  independent institution of higher education is not in substantial
  compliance with this subchapter, the coordinating board may assess
  an administrative penalty against the institution in an amount not
  to exceed $2 million.  In determining the amount of the penalty, the
  coordinating board shall consider the nature of the violation and
  the number of students enrolled at the institution.
         (c)  If the coordinating board assesses an administrative
  penalty against a private or independent institution of higher
  education under Subsection (b), the coordinating board shall
  provide to the institution written notice of the coordinating
  board's reasons for assessing the penalty.
         (d)  A private or independent institution of higher
  education assessed an administrative penalty under Subsection (b)
  may appeal the penalty in the manner provided by Chapter 2001,
  Government Code.
         (e)  A private or independent institution of higher
  education may not pay an administrative penalty assessed under
  Subsection (b) using state or federal money.
         (f)  An administrative penalty collected under this section
  shall be deposited to the credit of the sexual assault program fund
  established under Section 420.008, Government Code.
         (g)  The coordinating board shall annually submit to the
  governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of
  representatives, and the standing legislative committees with
  primary jurisdiction over legislation concerning sexual assault at
  postsecondary educational institutions a report regarding
  compliance with this subchapter, including a summary of the
  postsecondary educational institutions found not to be in
  substantial compliance as provided by this section during the
  calendar year preceding the date of the report.
         Sec. 51.289.  RULES. The coordinating board shall adopt
  rules as necessary to implement and enforce this subchapter,
  including rules that ensure implementation of this subchapter in a
  manner that complies with federal law regarding confidentiality of
  student educational information, including the Family Educational
  Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g).
         Sec. 51.290.  TRAINING ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  (a)  The
  commissioner of higher education shall establish an advisory
  committee to develop recommended training for persons required to
  report certain incidents under Section 51.282 and for Title IX
  coordinators at postsecondary educational institutions.
         (b)  The advisory committee consists of nine members
  appointed by the commissioner of higher education.  Each member
  must be a chief executive officer of a postsecondary educational
  institution or a representative designated by that officer.
         (c)  Not later than December 1, 2017, the advisory committee
  shall develop the recommended training under Subsection (a).
         (d)  This section expires September 1, 2018.
         SECTION 2.  Section 420.008(b), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  The fund consists of:
               (1)  fees collected under:
                     (A) [(1)]  Article 42A.653(a), Code of Criminal
  Procedure;
                     (B) [(2)]  Section 508.189, Government Code; and
                     (C) [(3)]  Subchapter B, Chapter 102, Business &
  Commerce Code, and deposited under Section 102.054; and
               (2)  administrative penalties collected under Section
  51.288, Education Code.
         SECTION 3.  Sections 51.281-51.289, Education Code, as added
  by this Act, apply beginning January 1, 2018.
         SECTION 4.  Not later than January 1, 2019, the Texas Higher
  Education Coordinating Board shall submit its initial report
  required under Section 51.288(g), Education Code, as added by this
  Act.
         SECTION 5.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsections (b) and
  (c) of this section, this Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
         (b)  Section 51.290, Education Code, as added by this Act,
  takes effect immediately if this Act receives a vote of two-thirds
  of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39,
  Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the
  vote necessary for immediate effect, Section 51.290, Education
  Code, as added by this Act, takes effect September 1, 2017.
         (c)  Section 51.285(d), Education Code, as added by this Act,
  takes effect January 1, 2018.
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