Federal, state lawmakers take aim at sexual harassment | KOB 4
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Federal, state lawmakers take aim at sexual harassment

KOB.com Web Staff
November 27, 2017 10:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- As sexual misconduct claims plague some Washington lawmakers, Sen. Martin Heinrich joined an effort to stop the problem.

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The New Mexico Democrat has co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in Congress. Heinrich said the bill would overhaul the complaint process, and provide more support for victims. It would also require mandatory annual training for lawmakers and staff.

"Sexual harassment and assault cannot be tolerated in our society, whether it’s in the halls of Congress, in the military, at home, in the executive suite, or anywhere else," he said. "The prevalence of sexual harassment and assault is deeply concerning and it is clear that it has been swept under the rug for far too long. We in Congress must take serious steps to address this issue head on."

In New Mexico, a state lawmaker said current policies against sexual harassment at the Roundhouse are a joke. So she's proposing a change. State Rep. Kelly Fajardo of Los Lunas wants future claims of harassment to be turned over to a third party for review.

Complaints currently are evaluated by legislative agency directors and chief clerks. Fajardo said that does not ensure a partial review or protection from retaliation.

The Democratic-led legislature is reviewing workplace harassment guidelines. This follows decade-old claims of sexual misconduct resurfacing against state Sen. Michael Padilla, who is running for lieutenant governor.

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