Public colleges, universities and police departments could face stricter guidelines when it comes to investigating and reporting sexual assault under a bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, passed on a 39-0 vote and now heads to the House. It is one piece of a broader package of bills that supporters say will improve the way authorities handle sexual assaults.
The bill would require, if funding is available, schools and police to jointly develop guidelines for investigating and reporting sexual assaults. Currently there are none, Morrell said. It would also require colleges and universities to survey students to develop a better idea of on-campus attitudes toward sexual assault. Student rape victims would be directed to a “confidential adviser” who could help them find services or report a crime to police.
If approved, the bill would go into effect once lawmakers find a way to pay for it.