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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pending legislation addressing culture of sexual assault in the military

NASHUA – There are several bills on the table to address a permissive culture toward sexual assault and rape inside the U.S. military. In New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is championing her own bill with a Democrat and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has written letters to military officials criticizing their current standing policies. Here is a listing and explanation of some of those proposals under consideration.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D), The Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013, aims to address perceived gaps within current law and policy and build upon the positive steps by the U.S. Department of Defense, including providing victims of sexual assault with legal counseling. ...

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NASHUA – There are several bills on the table to address a permissive culture toward sexual assault and rape inside the U.S. military. In New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is championing her own bill with a Democrat and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has written letters to military officials criticizing their current standing policies. Here is a listing and explanation of some of those proposals under consideration.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D), The Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013, aims to address perceived gaps within current law and policy and build upon the positive steps by the U.S. Department of Defense, including providing victims of sexual assault with legal counseling.

Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) and California Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D), Military Whistleblower Protection Bill, amends existing law to clearly elucidate that victims of sexual assault cannot be retaliated against for reporting sexual violence and misconduct.

Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) and Ohio Rep. Mike Turner (R). Better Enforcement for Sexual Assault Free Environments Act of 2013, The Be Safe Act, removes the convening authority’s ability to change or dismiss an adjudged court-martial conviction for any charge or specification except in the case of minor offenses.

California Rep. Jackie Speier (D), Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, The Stop Act, takes the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults out of the hands of the normal chain of command and places jurisdiction in the hands of an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office within the military.

California Rep. Jackie Speier (D), Military Judicial Reform Act, takes away the ability of the convening authority to dismiss, commute, lessen, or order a rehearing after a panel or judge has found the accused guilty and rendered a punishment.

Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree (D), Ruth Moore Act, pushes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve benefits for survivors of sexual trauma in the military and requires the VA to report to Congress on every veteran who has applied for benefits or been treated at a VA facility as a result of MST.

Source: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s Press Office, U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kuster’s Press Office.