Bill addressing sexual harassment complaints filed

09/26/2018 02:24 PM

FRANKFORT- After sexual harassment complaints consumed the start of the 2018 session—lawmakers are hoping to tackle the issue head on. An ethics bill that addresses inappropriate behavior and creates a legislative tip line has been prefiled.

The bill sponsored by Reps. Ken Fleming, R-Louisville, and Kim Moser, R- Taylor Mill, creates a well-defined process and sets up boundaries to address inappropriate behavior of employees of the legislative branch.

This new bill would cover legislators, legislative agents or the director of the Legislative Research Commission. And says discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment of any legislator, legislative agent, or legislative employee would be considered ethical misconduct.

The bill provides clear definitions of harassment, sexual harassment, workplace complaint, unwanted sexual contact or sexually suggestive comments and discrimination and creates a tip line to report wrongdoing within the legislative branch.

The tip line would be administrated through the Legislative Ethics Commission, which would have the authority to manage the complaints. The commission would be required to ensure that tip line number is available to employees and accessible 24 hours a day. The executive director of the commission would have to review the complaint within two hours upon receiving it—and would have 24 hours to notify the accused. There would then be 30 days for investigation of the claim.

“Staff and legislators alike should be free to do their jobs in a free and safe work environment,” she said. “Harassment and discrimination has no place in our society, especially in a workplace that serves the general public. All allegations should be dealt with in a swift and serious manner.”

Reps. Fleming and Moser filed a similar bill last session, HB 9, which passed the House but not the Senate.

“This bill gives a well-defined process that addresses a serious issue of harassment and discrimination in the workplace with public employees,” said Rep. Fleming. “The bill carries many elements as HB 9 did and takes a step further by defining definitions.”

There is also a clause that would require legislators to include out-of-state travel related to legislative duties on financial disclosure forms.

The beginning of 2018 General Assembly began with Speaker Jeff Hoover embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal—eventually causing him to step down as Speaker.

To view the prefiled bill click here. .

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

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