CASPER, Wyo. — “Hazing” could be made a crime in Wyoming if House Bill 0152 becomes law.
The Wyoming House of Representatives agreed to take up the bill on Friday, Feb. 14, approving the proposal on an introductory consent vote.
The bill defines hazing as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, club, association, fraternity or sorority which is part of the institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities, whether on public or private property, that willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.”
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Examples of hazing listed in the bill include:
- exposure to the weather,
- forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance
- “any brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student or other person, or which subjects the student or other person to extreme mental distress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation”
“A person is guilty of hazing if the person intentionally commits or is actively involved in the planning of any act of hazing that results in bodily injury or mental injury,” the proposed legislation states.
Hazing would become a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to six months in prison and/or up to $750 fines under the proposal.
The bill would also establish hazing as a felony if someone’s actions lead to “serious bodily injury or death to another person.” That would be punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 fines.
People consenting to hazing would not be a viable defense to prosecution under the proposed law.
The rules would apply to groups at public and private high schools, community colleges and universities.
The bill also defines mental injury as “an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in his ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to his culture.”
Schools would be required to inform student organizations of the law under the proposed bill. Student organizations would be required to inform their members of the law as well.
During a budget session, at least two-thirds of the House must vote to have a proposed bill or resolution introduced. Those resolutions which meet this threshold are then assigned to a committee.
Committees which have been assigned resolutions after approval on an introductory vote in the House will vote to “pass,” “do not pass” or “pass with amendments.”
Resolutions which make it out of committee then return to the full House for consideration. The House then must approve a resolution on three readings before it is sent to the Senate, who must pass it on three readings.
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