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California Adopts 'Yes Means Yes' Law, Defines Sexual Consent

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed groundbreaking legislation that defines "yes means yes" when it comes to investigating college sexual assaults making California the first state in the nation to adopt such requirements for campuses.

California Adopts 'Yes Means Yes' Law, Defines Sexual Consent

This comes as the state's colleges and universities are under fire for how they have investigated cases in the past. Many universities already use what's known as "affirmed consent" but the new law requires that all campuses receiving state money to use that standard.

It clarifies an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to sexual activity. Someone drugged, or unconscious, can't give consent. Silence or a lack of resistance does not qualify as consent.

"Remember what Rush Limbaugh said recently—that sometimes, you can just tell it's 'yes' if you just keep looking further? No. You can't just tell if it's 'yes' until somebody actually says, 'yes,'" Lisa Mats, spokeswoman fo for American Association of University Women, said.

UC schools clarified their policy in the spring after a lawsuit was filed against UC Berkely claiming there was a systematic mishandling of assault cases.

"This is something that we're all responsible for and at the UC campuses it's a large, very diverse community of students. We want to have policies and standards that are consistent and very transparent, " UC spokesman Steve Montiel said.

Critics, however, complain that the law is vague opening the door to more lawsuits and that the burden of proof is shifted onto the accused.

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