HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

13

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

CONVENING A TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS IMPLEMENTATION OF HAWAII'S STATE LAW COROLLARY TO TITLE IX TO STRENGTHEN HAWAII'S EFFORTS TO END CAMPUS-BASED SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND GENDER DISCRIMINATION.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972, renamed in 2002 as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in honor of its principal author, former Hawaii Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink, states that "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance"; and

 

WHEREAS, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the United States Department of Education (USDOE) enforces Title IX by, among other things, investigating complaints and issuing informal guidance to educational programs; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2011, OCR issued a nineteen-page "Dear Colleague" letter clarifying that Title IX prohibits sexual harassment as well as sexual violence and setting out in detail the key requirements that must be followed by educational programs in response to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2014, as a follow-up to the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter, OCR issued a Question and Answer document further clarifying a school's obligation to respond to sexual violence under Title IX procedural requirements; and

 

WHEREAS, both the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter and the 2014 Question and Answer document were disseminated in response to growing awareness of the issue of campus sexual assault and the intentional failure of institutions of higher education to respond; and

WHEREAS, in January 2017, a new president took office, and the following month, the federal government withdrew guidance documents that had extended Title IX protections to transgender students. In September 2017, USDOE also withdrew the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter and 2014 Question and Answer document issued by OCR under the prior federal administration. At the same time, USDOE announced its intent to engage in new rulemaking on Title IX; and

 

WHEREAS, on November 29, 2018, USDOE issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would significantly amend existing Title IX regulations and create new regulations. Among other things, the proposed regulations would reduce the number of complaints involving sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct that currently fall within the purview of Title IX. The proposed regulations would also limit the scope of educational institutions' liability for complaints of sexual harassment; and

 

WHEREAS, the proposed regulations were publicly criticized by victim advocates as "devastating" for survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. More specifically, commenters anticipated that the proposed regulations would have the effect of discouraging the reporting of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Further, the proposed rules were characterized as protecting schools above all, and not protecting students, accused or otherwise; and

 

WHEREAS, in response to the intended policy changes announced by USDOE on the scope of Title IX's application, the Hawaii Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, Act 110, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018 (Act 110). Act 110 established a state law corollary to Title IX that prohibits sex-based discrimination in state-administered or state-funded educational programs or activities, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression; and

 

WHEREAS, Act 110 also requested the Legislative Reference Bureau to study and report on the status of Title IX enforcement nationally and in other jurisdictions, and to make recommendations relevant to implementation of the state law corollary; and

 

WHEREAS, the Legislative Reference Bureau's report was published in October 2019; and

 

WHEREAS, after receiving more than 124,000 public comments on the proposed Title IX regulations, USDOE formally published the final Title IX regulations (also known as the "Final Rule") in the Federal Register on May 19, 2020; and

 

WHEREAS, the Final Rule, which took effect on August 14, 2020, is similar in many respects to the proposed Title IX regulations but also reflects further changes made by USDOE in response to issues raised during the public comment process; and

 

WHEREAS, on November 25, 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, President-elect Joe Biden released a statement in which he pledged to "restore Title IX protections for student survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence"; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, one in ten students across the United States will experience sexual violence while attending an institution of higher education; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the United States Department of Justice, an estimated ninety percent of survivors of campus‑based sexual violence do not report such violence through official institutional or legal protocols; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the University of Hawaii systemwide campus climate survey of 2019, 12.7 percent of students have reported experiencing sexual harassment, 10.6 percent have experienced stalking, 21.3 percent have experienced dating violence, and 7.2 percent have experienced nonconsensual sexual contact, all of which represent significant increases from the University of Hawaii systemwide campus climate survey results of 2017; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that an Act 110 Implementation Task Force be convened to address implementation of Hawaii's state law corollary to Title IX to strengthen Hawaii's efforts to end campus-based sexual violence and gender discrimination; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Act 110 Implementation Task Force is requested to recommend amendments to Hawaii's state law corollary for the purpose of addressing potential conflicts between Hawaii's law and the federal government's recent changes to the Title IX regulations, while considering the possible impacts of any restoration by the new federal administration of prior Title IX protections, and to recommend a meaningful enforcement framework for Hawaii's state law corollary to Title IX; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the membership of the Act 110 Implementation Task Force consist of one representative from each of the following entities, and that upon convening, the members elect a chairperson from among themselves:

 

(1) The Office of Institutional Equity of the University of Hawaii System;

 

(2) The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission;

 

(3) The Civil Rights Compliance Branch of the Department of Education;

 

(4) The Department of the Attorney General;

 

(5) The Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women;

 

(6) The Prevention, Awareness, and Understanding Violence Program of the University of Hawaii System;

 

(7) The American Association of University Women of Hawaii, which shall be invited to participate;

 

(8) The Hawaii Coalition to End Domestic Violence, which shall be invited to participate;

(9) The Sex Abuse Treatment Center, which shall be invited to participate; and

 

(10) The Every Voice Coalition, which shall be invited to participate; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Act 110 Implementation Task Force is requested to consider in its deliberations the:

 

(1) Availability of resources for survivors of campus‑based sexual violence;

 

(2) Adequacy of evidence-based and trauma-informed training regarding sexual violence for faculty, staff, and students;

 

(3) Sufficiency of information provided to students about gender violence, including but not limited to information regarding student rights, institutional and legal reporting protocols, and on- and off-campus student support services;

 

(4) Legislation enacted in other states to strengthen protections for survivors of campus-based sexual violence, including chapter 188-H, New Hampshire Revised Statutes, and chapter 337 of the Acts of 2020 of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts;

 

(5) Recommendations contained in "The Complexities of Enforcing Title IX and Related Laws: Past History, Current Status, and Future Directions", which was published by the Legislative Reference Bureau in 2019; and

 

(6) Strategies for improving protections for transgendered students in Hawaii's public schools; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the members of the Act 110 Implementation Task Force serve without compensation; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Act 110 Implementation Task Force is requested to work with student organizations, such as the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, to obtain feedback from survivors of campus-based sexual violence in the course of its deliberations; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Act 110 Implementation Task Force is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor; Attorney General; Executive Director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission; President of the University of Hawaii System; Superintendent of Education; Executive Director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women; Board President of the American Association of University Women of Hawaii; System Coordinator for the Prevention, Awareness, and Understanding Violence Program of the University of Hawaii; Executive Director of the Hawaii Coalition to End Domestic Violence; Executive Director of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center; and Co-Executive Directors of the Every Voice Coalition.

Report Title:

Education; Title IX Corollary; Act 110 Implementation Task Force