Following eight months of meetings, a workgroup on the prevention of sexual harassment in the Washington state House is recommending the formation of an independent office where victims could report misconduct, among other reforms.
In an on-air chat with All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins said the full set of recommendations is robust.
The package of suggested reforms was forwarded to House leaders for their consideration this week. The workgroup also is recommending the House:
- Adopt a new code of conduct that all House members and staff would be required to sign, and lobbyists would have to sign in order to be in good standing with the state's Public Disclosure Commission.
- Require mandatory training for House members and staff on the code of conduct, respectful workplace policy and avenues for reporting harassment.
- Require an additional five hours of "elective" respectful workplace training per year on topics such as peer-to-peer counseling and bystander training.
- Create a training advisory committee to develop and approve trainings.
In a letter to House leadership, members of the workgroup wrote: "We hope that these recommendations will foster a safe and respectful environment for the entire legislative community."