Bill Redefining Consent In Sexual Assaults Moves Forward In State Legislature
One of the results following the national attention on Missoula regarding sexual assaults in recent years, is the effort to legally redefine the concept of 'consent', and that has led to Senate Bill 29, now moving through the state legislature.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Clark, part of the 'Special Victims Unit' within the prosecutor's office, testified in the opening days of the legislature to urge lawmakers in support of SB 29.
"My view of our present definition is that it's quite antiquated," Clark said. "It requires an offender to use force to compel a victim to submit, so it requires the victim to be physically helpless or mentally incapacitated, and those requirements, given what we now know about sexual intercourse without consent don't exist."
Clark explains the language in the proposed statute, SB-29.
"The new statute defines consent as either words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse," she said. "It's not an affirmative consent bill, but it requires some sort of interaction between the parties that indicates that consent has been given."
Attorney General Tim Fox has also been closely following SB-29's progress through the legislature.
"That bill just passed out of the Senate committee and the full Senate unanimously, so now, we're on to the House, and we're hopeful that the House will also pass it and that the Governor will sign it into law ."