Lawmakers: 'Hush money' bill would save taxpayer dollars

Oregon lawmakers want to ban the use of 'hush money' payments as part of an ongoing response to a sexual harassment scandal that’s dogged the Legislature’s top leaders.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 3:56 AM
Updated: Mar 7, 2019 11:15 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers want to ban the use of “hush money” payments as part of an ongoing response to a sexual harassment scandal that’s dogged the Legislature’s top leaders.

The bill prohibits public officials and candidates from using taxpayer dollars or campaign funds to pay for nondisclosure agreements regarding workplace harassment. They also can’t use third-party money to fund such agreements if the alleged harassment took place while the official was in office.

“Aggrieved people should not be paid for their silence, and they shouldn’t be bullied into staying silent for fear of retribution,” said sponsor Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, in a Facebook post.

The ban on nondisclosure agreements is just one of a slew of bills the state’s pursuing to respond to a damning report from Bureau of Labor and Industries, which shone a spotlight on a “pervasive” culture of harassment and intimidation in the capital. The report found that top statehouse leaders, including the Senate President and the Speaker of the House, didn’t do enough to address allegations of sexual harassment against former Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg.

Gelser was one of four women to accuse Kruse of inappropriate touching and behavior. Two interns and another state senator also made complaints, and the report notes the incidents are part of a larger culture of harassment which has intimidated victims into staying silent.

Senate President Peter Courtney confirmed last week that the Legislature is working out the final details of a settlement over the case.
Sixteen other states introduced legislation last year limiting the use of nondisclosure agreements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as part of a national #MeToo reckoning that has touched almost every industry over the past year and a half.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 175592

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35068568
Washington23492229
Marion20261299
Clackamas15451204
Lane11656144
Jackson9938127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes717272
Linn417563
Yamhill411675
Klamath349059
Polk345752
Malheur342858
Josephine306662
Douglas304965
Benton273318
Jefferson207332
Coos197831
Columbia155126
Union141624
Lincoln130520
Wasco129928
Hood River112729
Morrow107915
Clatsop8998
Crook88119
Baker86114
Curry5959
Tillamook5823
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3720901

Reported Deaths: 61045
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122932823648
Riverside2973194528
San Bernardino2948834556
San Diego2751123674
Orange2690364896
Santa Clara1171862017
Kern1078791322
Sacramento1015111646
Fresno1006211646
Alameda854811477
Ventura803091000
San Joaquin715271334
Contra Costa67101782
Stanislaus605131030
Tulare49414831
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41201560
San Francisco36073525
Santa Barbara33913446
Solano32027239
Merced31267452
Sonoma29715311
Imperial27991719
Kings22777245
Placer21878283
San Luis Obispo20972257
Madera16277239
Santa Cruz15615204
Marin13865226
Yolo13562200
Shasta11722218
Butte11591196
El Dorado9777109
Napa968079
Sutter9292109
Yuba611044
San Benito598963
Lassen567324
Tehama543056
Nevada447775
Tuolumne408164
Mendocino398747
Amador362746
Humboldt362138
Lake341343
Glenn235825
Colusa219916
Calaveras206051
Siskiyou195921
Inyo141738
Del Norte12887
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4267
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned510
Medford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 70°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 68°
Medford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 70°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 60°
Clearing tonight, sunny and warmer tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events