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Proposed bills targets sexual harassment, secrecy

Democratic women leaders in the state House and Senate are introducing legislation that targets sexual harassment in government, the private sector and higher education.

The proposed bills target non-disclosure agreements and campus harassment and would extend the powers of the state’s Human Relations Act. 

“The recent stories from around the country and right here in the PA legislature show that sexual harassment and abuse have been overlooked for far too long,” state Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) said in news release. She is the chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “We’re here to say enough is enough.” 

The measures include: 

  • The #METOO PA General Assembly (Member and Employee Training and Oversight on PA General Assembly) Act, backed by Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-Delaware). It would ban non-disclosure agreements that mask the names of General Assembly members who harass and prohibit members from using taxpayer funds to pay settlement costs. “For far too long in this building, complaints of harassment have been swept under the rug,” said Krueger-Braneky.
  • Rep. Maureen Madden (D-Monroe) wants to offer legal protection to all employees in Pennsylvania from unwanted sexual harassment by extending the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to any entity that has more than one employee.
  • Rep. Carol Hill-Evans (D-York)  seeks to create a task force to examine sexual assault on college campuses. 
  • Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) wants to prohibit non-disclosure agreements in contracts or secret settlements related to sexual harassment or misconduct in the private sector. The provision would allow victims to remain confidential. 

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