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California Legislature Discusses New Policy On Sexual Harassment

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

California lawmakers are moving toward adopting a new policy on how the Legislature will investigate sexual harassment complaints.

A joint Senate-Assembly subcommittee discussed the proposal Monday after its public release on Friday.

“It presents an amazing opportunity to ensure that, both in word and in deed, a truly independent process is established that people can trust,” said Samantha Corbin, a co-founder of the “We Said Enough” group whose letter decrying sexual harassment launched the Me Too movement at the state Capitol.

“And so equally, if not more, important will be ensuring and articulating to legislative staff that this is a fair process, which will place equity and safety above politics, and is not beholden to this legislative body,” she told the lawmakers during Monday’s subcommittee hearing.

Corbin says the legislative staffers she’s discussed the proposal with have voiced a mix of enthusiasm, skepticism and fear.

Under the proposal, a new unit housed in the Legislative Counsel’s office would conduct investigations. And a panel of outside experts would determine whether allegations are substantiated and make recommendations on potential consequences.

Lawmakers could vote to adopt the new policy as soon as next Monday.