Washington, DC – Thirty members of California’s Congressional Delegation, led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), have issued a letter urging Governor Brown to sign Senate Bill 169, a bill authored by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) that would codify federal Title IX civil rights protections in state law. Rep Speier will be introducing related federal legislation next week.

“As members of Congress, we hear from survivors of sexual violence frequently about the pain they experienced when they were attacked, and the additional indignity and hardship they suffer when our educational institutions and governments fail to adhere to Title IX directives,” wrote the signatories to the letter. “SB 169 is a necessary response to reduce an endemic culture of gender discrimination and violence in our schools. When twenty percent of undergraduate women and 6 percent of undergraduate men will be sexually assaulted or suffer an attempted sexual assault during their college years, it is incumbent on California to act when the federal government threatens to roll back important civil rights protections.”

SB 169 will codify Title IX enforcement and procedural standards issued by the Obama Administration in response to the crisis of sexual harassment and sexual violence in our nation’s schools and universities, including at the K-12 level. The Department of Education based the 2011 guidance on existing legal precedent, and previous guidance, released by both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Among other things, the bill clarifies responsibilities and affirmative steps that schools, colleges, and universities must take when responding to reports of sexual violence, and establishes fair and equitable procedures for schools to follow when investigating alleged Title IX violations, sanctioning offenders, and reviewing appeals or other grievances.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded the Obama-era Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault and harassment last Friday, removing key safeguards formulated to ensure a safe learning environment for all students. With SB 169, California is thought to be the only state currently working to preserve these Title IX civil rights protections in state law.  SB 169 passed both houses of the California Legislature with bipartisan support and is on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature.

Click here to view a copy of the letter.