Legislatures being pressed to produce reports of misconduct

SANTA FE, N.M. – Documenting sexual harassment complaints against state lawmakers and publicly releasing the outcomes can provide encouragement for people who might otherwise be hesitant to report inappropriate behavior.

Experts and many female lawmakers say that’s true even if the complaints are ultimately dismissed, because it shows legislatures take the matter seriously.

New Mexico provides an example. Lobbyist Julianna Koob said she was harassed three years ago but never reportd it for fear that doing so would affect her livelihood.

Before convening this year, the New Mexico Legislature overhauled its sexual harassment policy. It included outside legal counsel and provided anti-harassment training for lawmakers.

The Legislature subsequently received a flurry of harassment complaints. That stood in sharp contrast to the prior decade, when just one formal harassment complaint was filed against a lawmaker.