By Shawn Chitnis
DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado House and Senate Leadership took steps Friday to improve the legislature’s policies on sexual harassment.
They’re doing that by developing a Human Resources position, increasing training for members and seeking an outside review of current procedures.
“We are responding as best we can to the concerns that have been brought before us and we look forward to moving ahead and forging this new path together,” said State Senate President Kevin Grantham.
“Today we took steps to ensure there is meaningful change at the Capitol,” said State Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran. “We want to address the issues of sexual harassment head on by ensuring there is systemic change and that we also work to reform the culture of the Capitol.”
Leaders of both legislative bodies spoke after passing motions to begin the search for a HR representative and request proposals for an outside or independent firm to review all of the policies that would cover sexual harassment.
They will also change sexual harassment training from every two years to once a year.
“How do we make this a better place?” asked Grantham, a Republican. “Safer workplace environment for legislators, for aides, for interns, for nonpartisan staff, for lobbyists, for everyone that comes in.”
All three motions were passed unanimously by leaders from both the House and Senate and both political parties. They want the HR position to be nonpartisan and above politics, creating a space where anyone can report issues confidentially.
“It is odd, with so many people working in this building, we should have an HR person,” added Duran, a Democrat.
Current complaints will remain in the system using current policy. But leaders stressed they want these first steps to be in place before the new legislative session begins in the new year.