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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 15, 2019 11:46 AM
From: Representative Margo L. Davidson
To: All House members
Subject: #TimesUp – Sexual Harassment by Public Officials
Recently, the General Assembly has been shaken with allegation after allegation of sexual harassment and misconduct. While changes have been made to create a better process for reporting complaints, more work must be done to ensure that victims have the assurance that their complaints will be investigated by bipartisan, independent bodies rather than negotiated in secret.

Reports of sexual misconduct in public office are not confined to the legislature. A person holding public office, no matter the level of government at which they are serving, holds the public’s trust. When allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct arise, it erodes public trust. Further unlike other employment elected officials cannot be fired in the same way.
They are hired/elected by the people and the people must have means to evaluate their performance, independently.

To ensure that all victims and the public has confidence in an independent investigation, I am introducing legislation that expands the duties of the State Ethics Commission, an independent state agency, to include investigating sexual harassment claims against officials and public employees at all levels of government in Pennsylvania. In cases involving a member of the legislature, the commission could recommend that the House or Senate pursue further penalties under the chamber’s rules. While final orders of the commission will be made public, victims may request to have their names redacted to maintain their privacy.

Please join me in declaring that “Time’s Up” for sexual misconduct perpetrators in public office by supporting this important legislation.

If you have any questions, please contact, Vincent Rongione, Esq., Southeast Delegation Director, vrongione@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HB1619