Senate to vote on Military Sexual Assault Bill - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Senate to vote on Military Sexual Assault Bill

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(CBS) - The Senate is vowing to pass legislation that would make it easier for sexual assault victims in the military to come forward and to increase punishments for offenders.


This comes after a Pentagon report-- issued earlier this month-- shows sexual assaults in the military have risen 46-percent in the last year. The senate plans a vote today on an amendment sponsored by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that would dramatically change how the military handles sexual assault cases. 
 
50 senators have signed on to support the Gillibrand amendment which would strip military commanders of the authority to prosecute sex crimes.  That's something some sexual assault survivors want.

"Leaving these cases within the chain of command exascerbates the process of repeat victimization."

A bipartisan group of Senators led by Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill opposes the Gillibrand plan. In a letter to their colleagues they say: "We believe strongly that this would create a system that would actually be worse for victims and significantly undermine the military system of justice and discipline." 
 
The White House would not weigh in on which measure it supports.
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