Bills to prevent mishandling of sexual violence complaints at Louisiana colleges advance

A group of bills designed to close loopholes of reporting and handling sexual violence and abuse claims on Louisiana’s college campuses moved one step from final passage Tuesday, according to The Daily Advertiser. 

The legislation was prompted by the USA Today investigation that revealed systemic mishandling of sexual violence cases at LSU, which was followed by a Husch Blackwell investigation commissioned by LSU confirming the school’s failure.

More reporting has since uncovered other potential improper handling and reporting of sexual assault claims at UL-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech.

Most measures are being led by women lawmakers in the Legislature and were crafted following presession hearings on the LSU scandal by the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children.

“We wanted to make it clear that this will no longer be business as usual,” said committee Chair Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge.

SB232 by Barrow, which sets up a review board to oversee universities’ handling of abuse claims was approved by the House 99-0 Tuesday but will be returned to the Senate for concurrence on changes made in the House. 

SB230 by Senate pro tem Beth Mizell, a Republican from Franklinton, would close loopholes in reporting claims and require universities to fire officials who fail to report abuse moving forward. It cleared the House on Tuesday, but also returns to the Senate for final passage before being sent to the governor. Read the full story.