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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2019 12:07 PM
From: Senator Maria Collett and Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams, Sen. Timothy P. Kearney, Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero
To: All Senate members
Subject: The Creation of the #MeToo in Pennsylvania General Assembly Act
Since 2017, there have been far too many reports of instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault across our nation including here at home. Whether these reports came from instances by Members of Congress, Members of state legislatures, or by officials on the local level nationwide, the #MeToo Movement has not only been instrumental in raising awareness of this epidemic, but also instrumental in highlighting the lack of a formal process for victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to successfully report their harassment and assault and seek the protections necessary to effectively address this issue.

As such, last session, with the help of dozens of our colleagues in a bi-partisan manner, Rep. Krueger took the extraordinary step of introducing a groundbreaking piece of reform legislation creating the #MeToo PA General Assembly Act. Consequently, it is with this in mind, and with your help, that in the coming weeks, we intend to introduce a Senate companion to this important legislation.

As you may recall, the reforms introduced in the bill from last session included:
  • Banning the use of non-disclosure agreements which mask the names of Members of the General Assembly who are accused of harassment if the complaint is credible;
  • Require that credibly accused members of the Legislature be held accountable to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and require that they repay any settlements that were paid with taxpayer dollars;
  • Requiring that paid administrative leave, remote work assignments, and reimbursement for licensed professional counseling be offered to employees during the entire adjudication of the proceedings.
In the current version of the bill, there are additional reforms including:

  • The establishment of procedures for keeping the investigatory, prosecutorial, and adjudicatory functions separate as required under Pennsylvania law;
  • The establishment of a new section of procedures for promulgating temporary regulations to facilitate the prompt implementation of this new section;
  • The combining the settlement provisions with provisions relating to the source of payment, the personal liability of elected officials, and the payment of awards; and
  • Various other technical and conforming changes to the bill.
With that said, it is our belief that is it time for the General Assembly of this great Commonwealth to be the leader in this area and to advance measures that protect Members, staff, employees, and other stakeholders who work with our legislative body.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this crucial legislation.

Introduced as SB480