|Posted:||December 23, 2020 05:52 PM|
|From:||Representative Margo L. Davidson|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||#TimesUp – Sexual Harassment by Public Officials|
|The General Assembly has proven not to be immune and in fact has been shaken with numerous allegations 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. Further, unlike other employment settings, elected officials cannot be fired in the same way. They are "hired" by a formal election by the people and only the people in a given jurisdiction have the authority to evaluate their performance and determine whether or not to "retain" or re-elect them.
To ensure that all victims and the public have 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.
The public will, at a minimum, be informed that an elected official has been named in a credible, duly processed allegation of sexual harassment.
Co-sponsors of this legislation are making a clear stand against sexual misconduct among elected officials by declaring “Time’s Up” for perpetrators operating without impunity in public office