Contact: Carmen M. Bingham
Feb. 27, 2015
914 Capitol Street
Richmond, VA 23218
Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) announced today that bills designed to encourage greater reporting of sexual assault cleared the General Assembly late Friday, and are now on their way to Governor McAuliffe for his signature. Toscano had offered a reporting measure that was incorporated into HB1930. The legislation was designed after careful consideration with law enforcement officials, university staff, student advocacy groups, and sexual assault survivors, and encourages reporting by creating enhanced collaboration between Virginia’s colleges and universities and law enforcement.
“The passage of this legislation was among my top priorities for the 2015 legislative session,” said Toscano. “This measure, along with two other bills that expand Virginia’s DNA database and require notation on a student’s transcript, arose after tragic events in my district and the nationwide call to take a second look at how sexual assault cases are handled on college campuses. It requires all universities to engage with sexual assault agencies, that certain information be disseminated to all victims, and that reporting to law enforcement will be required if there is a danger to community safety.”
The DNA database bill was passed on February 26th, and expands Virginia’s DNA database to include specific misdemeanor crimes that are common predicators for serious felonies. Virginia already obtains DNA samples from individuals with felony convictions, so this bill only expands upon existing practice.
The transcript notation bill is designed to ensure campus sexual predators cannot easily move from one institution of higher education to another without the new college or university being advised of the student’s misconduct at a previous institution. This legislation specifically addresses the actions of Jesse Matthew, the individual charged in the death and disappearance of Hannah Graham, who had not revealed his history of sexual misconduct when he transferred between two Virginia universities.
Governor McAuliffe has until March 30th to take action on all three of these measures, and it is anticipated he will sign them into law.