SACRAMENTO (AP) — The Latest on legislative hearings on sexual harassment (all times local):
A committee hearing on the California Assembly’s sexual harassment policies is revealing confusion in how the chamber deals with misconduct.
Chief Administrative Officer Debra Gravert says the chamber does not track harassment complaints filed against lawmakers, but does track investigations. Gravert says she can’t say if any of the eight investigations conducted in the last six years involved members.
Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong says the tracking policies are “problematic.”
Other committee members are questioning whether the system is designed to protect lawmakers, not victims. Democratic Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes suggests victims might not feel comfortable talking to an investigator hired by the Assembly.
The committee was tasked with revising the Assembly’s policies amid allegations of pervasive sexual harassment.
The state Assembly is set to begin public hearings on its sexual harassment policies a day after misconduct allegations prompted a member to resign.
The six-member Assembly Rules Subcommittee on Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Prevention and Response will hold its first meeting Tuesday afternoon. Democratic Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned Monday after facing allegations of unwanted advances toward multiple women. Bocanegra says an investigation would have cleared his name.
Speaker Anthony Rendon called for the public hearings after women who work in and around California’s capital spoke out about a culture they believe shields perpetrators and discourages victims from coming forward. The Legislature won’t say how many lawmakers have been investigated for harassment.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, the subcommittee chair, says a run-down of existing harassment policies will be the hearing’s focus.
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