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Gov. Brown signs bill to reduce college sexual assaults

Gov. Brown signs bill to reduce college sexual assaults
State Sen. Kevin de León said that one in five women on college campuses experience sexual assault. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California will be the first state in the nation to require its colleges and universities to adopt a standard of clear consent for students engaging in sexual activity after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday to address the scourge of campus rape.

The governor also approved a ballot measure that would repeal a mandate for English-language instruction in California schools and signed a bill that will provide student loans to immigrants in the country illegally.

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The bill aimed at reducing sexual assaults is by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). It also requires state universities and colleges to develop a plan for helping victims of sexual assault.

"Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy," De León said in support of his bill, SB 967. "With one in five women on college campuses experiencing sexual assault, it is high time the conversation regarding sexual assault be shifted to one of prevention, justice and healing."

The measure requires more training for the faculty reviewing sexual harassment and assault complaints and that counseling and health services be made available to victims.

Brown also signed a bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would ask voters on the 2016 ballot to consider repealing key parts of Proposition 227, the 1998 law restricting bilingual education in California by requiring school instruction in English.

Lara said the old initiative is stifling multilingualism in California and harming students who will need to speak more than one language to compete in the global economy.

"Children who participate in multilingual immersion programs not only outperform their peers in the long run, they also have higher earning potential when they enter the workforce," Lara said in support of his SB 1174.

Lara also sponsored a bill signed by the governor that creates the California Dream Loan Program at the University of California and California State University systems that allows students in the country illegally to receive student loans from a pot of $9.2 million set aside for the program.

The program under SB 1210, Lara said, "will take some of our state's top students closer to the graduation finish line."

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