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Report: Changes Needed to Prevent Harassment at Capitol

Lawmakers have been told the Oregon Legislature needs to make structural and cultural changes to ensure the Capitol building is free from harassment.

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 10:22 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Lawmakers have been told the Oregon Legislature needs to make structural and cultural changes to ensure the Capitol building is free from harassment.

Chief among the recommendations from the Oregon Law Commission's Oregon State Capitol Workplace Harassment work group is the creation and funding of an independent Equity Office that would conduct investigations into harassment complaints.

The Statesman Journal reports the panel presented its draft final report to legislative leaders on Thursday.

Legislative leaders thanked the chair of the work group, P.K. Runkles-Pearson, for the team's work and pledged further deliberation during the upcoming legislative session.

"We need help. And you've helped us. You've helped the Legislature and you've helped Oregon," said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem.

That commitment comes as Bureau of Labor and Industries investigators continue to look into whether legislative leaders did enough to protect legislators, staff and interns from former Republican Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, after allegations of sexual harassment became known.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed a complaint in August alleging they did not, and specifically named Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, as failing to take preventative action.

Last week, legislative leaders complied with a judge's order and turned over to investigators some 20,000 pages of documents related to sexual harassment complaints at the statehouse. They had initially refused a subpoena for those records.

Courtney and Kotek asked the Oregon Law Commission in April to look into the Legislature's policies and create this report.

On Thursday, Runkles-Pearson made it clear that culture and policy changes needed to be pursued in concert.

"In addition to adopting and implementing robust policies and training, eradicating workplace harassment from the State Capitol will require a daily commitment from you and your colleagues," Runkles-Pearson wrote in a letter attached to the report.

The report will be finalized next week.

The most significant recommendation is the creation of the Equity Office, an independent entity within the Legislature. The office would have at least two staff members — one responsible for conducting investigations and writing investigative reports, the other responsible for outreach and training.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352026

Reported Deaths: 4185
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55306692
Washington38321316
Marion36352445
Clackamas29350304
Lane27309299
Jackson22783304
Deschutes19886124
Umatilla14286144
Linn12617120
Douglas11918241
Josephine9292195
Yamhill8584111
Klamath7765111
Polk719680
Malheur552774
Benton537630
Coos492593
Columbia375743
Jefferson366351
Union316247
Lincoln313338
Wasco282640
Crook277646
Clatsop240729
Baker199228
Tillamook194929
Hood River190137
Morrow183023
Curry178723
Harney110225
Grant98012
Lake89711
Wallowa67312
Gilliam1494
Sherman1463
Wheeler1031
Unassigned00

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Cases: 4825708

Reported Deaths: 70829
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147768626443
Riverside3704095008
San Diego3649124169
San Bernardino3574215597
Orange3234075528
Sacramento1584372283
Fresno1451192063
Santa Clara1450041895
Kern1449141615
Alameda1202831381
San Joaquin1022501721
Ventura1008011165
Contra Costa99612995
Stanislaus856421319
Tulare79513958
San Francisco54220644
San Mateo53970622
Monterey50772583
Solano45898340
Santa Barbara45005522
Merced42047579
Sonoma40822402
Placer39118420
Imperial35794764
Kings32587315
San Luis Obispo29797331
Madera23680281
Butte23649265
Shasta23544341
Santa Cruz20928218
Yolo20240248
Marin17644243
El Dorado17083149
Sutter13847172
Napa12855100
Yuba1000882
Tehama9406107
Humboldt9171108
Nevada909490
Mendocino757686
Lassen749946
San Benito741372
Tuolumne680893
Lake6565104
Amador540364
Siskiyou445842
Glenn433632
Calaveras385180
Del Norte357141
Colusa302818
Inyo203540
Mono16565
Plumas16046
Mariposa130815
Trinity86711
Modoc6758
Unassigned1820
Sierra1810
Alpine1030
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