Lawmakers to review sexual harassment procedure

Four state legislators in Colorado are publicly accused of sexual harassment.

KUSA - Leaders of Colorado's state legislature plan to meet in the coming weeks to review the rules and procedures used when claims of sexual harassment are made.

The move comes in response to news reports this month featuring people who've accused a total of four lawmakers of various types of sexual harassment.

"We don't want that stuff going on around here," said Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican.

He says one key focus in the review is to ensure that victims feel safe reporting misconduct. Many accusers who've recently come forward in Colorado and elsewhere say they wanted to go public with the information sooner, but didn't do so out of fear of reprisals or of being blacklisted by powerful people.

Grantham says he's hopeful that stigma can be reduced through a policy change at the state Capitol, calling for "a secure, confidential reporting system, maybe an online reporting system."

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat, also signed on to the review which aims to bring an outside expert in to recommend changes.

The Speaker didn't agree to an interview on the issue Tuesday. She's under scrutiny for promoting Rep. Steve Lebsock to committee chair despite knowing about one of the accusations of misconduct against him.

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We also asked Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) if he has ideas for a change in policy.

"Well, certainly the heightened awareness is almost like a new policy of itself," Hickenlooper suggested.

He outlined his feelings about how any new procedure for handling accusations should work.

"They've gotta be quick. They've got to be safe. And they've got to be equitable," Hickenlooper said. "In other words, we gotta make sure that we get the real facts in these situations before we pass judgement."

Legislative leaders hope to hold their first meeting on the subject before Christmas. Grantham says it's possible that some changes could be implemented at the start of the next regular session in January if leadership can agree on a path forward.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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