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What’s being done to change the ‘pervasive’ culture of sexual harassment at California’s Capitol

The California State Capitol in Sacramento.
The California State Capitol in Sacramento.
Mathieu Thouvenin (Flickr Creative Commons)

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This is the rallying cry for more than 300 who have signed a letter denouncing the “pervasive” culture of sexual harassment that they say has gone unchecked in Sacramento politics for years.

The letter includes people like staffers and aides to current and former lawmakers who say they’ve been subject to everything from inappropriate comments and jokes to groping and unwanted/non-consensual touching. The letter goes on to say that many of those who signed felt unable to talk about the issue for fear that it could have consequences for their job or reputation.

Those who have come forward to share their stories publicly say they felt trapped because the system for reporting and investigating these kind of complaints was broken and stacked against them.

The California Senate announced last week that it has hired two outside firms to investigate the claims, and legislative leaders say they plan to hold hearings next month to review the disciplinary reporting system and talk about ways to make it more trustworthy and effective.


Melanie Mason, reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering state government and politics in Sacramento; she tweets @melmason

Laura Friedman, Democratic California State Assemblymember for District 43, which includes Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge; she is one of the 147 women who signed an open letter denouncing the alleged culture of sexual misconduct at the state Capitol