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Legislation To Create Sexual Harassment Policy

Charleta Tavares
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News
: Sen. Charleta Tavares, sponsor of the legislation, speaks at a podium.

Some state lawmakers are backing a new bill to reform sexual harassment training standards for themselves and their colleagues. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, with only Democratic support, it's unlikely to pass.

Republican Gov.John Kasich referred to the national problem of sexual harassment in his State of the State speech.

“Hollywood harassment. I am not going to say a word. It screams at us every day.”

But Democratic Rep. Dan Ramos said, after the event, he wished Kasich had said more.

“As the governor, he should have been one of the people to say ...'Look, it’s not just Harvey Weinstein.”

Fellow Democratic Sen. Charleta Tavares says she agrees Kasich should have said something about recent incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior or harassment involving state lawmakers and top staffers at the Statehouse. But Tavares says lawmakers need to do more than talk about the problem. She’s proposing legislation to reform sexual harassment training and policies.

“It requires that all organizations that are a part of Capitol Square that they have sexual harassment, anti-discrimination policies, that they are reviewed annually, that they have training.”

The bill also creates a bipartisan task force that would review policies and make recommendations for next steps or changes. What the bill doesn’t have right now is support from any of the Republicans who dominate in the Legislature. Tavares had written a letter about her concerns last year, but only Democratic lawmakers and staffers signed it. And once again, only minority Democrats have signed onto this bill.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.