All Assembly representatives and staff were required to attend a training today to review the chamber’s sexual misconduct guidelines.
Assembly speaker Robin Vos says there’s nothing new about the procedures, but leaders in the chamber are focusing in on making sure everyone’s on the same page. New staff are already briefed on the Assembly’s sexual harassment policy, but it will now be part of an annual ethics training all staff and representatives go through at the start of each session.
But journalists at today’s press conference after the training pressed Vos and Minority leader Gordon Hintz about accountability. But the two say records related to sexual harassment claims handled within the Assembly won’t be released to the public, to protect victims’ privacy.
“We are trying to treat the workplace as it would be with any private sector employer … so they have the right to remain private,” Vos says.
That would even include documents where the victim’s name has been redacted. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Hintz stands by Vos’ decision to keep those records private.
“Some of the victims may not want those details out there,” Hintz says.
Vos points to the former Assembly Majority leader Bill Kramer, who resigned and was eventually arrested in 2014 after allegations of sexual harassment from multiple staff members. Leaders in the Assembly brought the case to their caucus and the public, and he says there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t do that again.
“We have a good track record,” Vos says.
The state Senate currently doesn’t offer training on sexual harassment.