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This Week in Statehouse Action: 'Tis the Session edition

They can’t sing worth a darn but these are the most festive birds OAT

Every day feels like one of those advent calendars with a piece of candy behind each door, except there’s no candy and we get sexual misconduct allegations instead.

Bah, humbug.

Silenced Night: A Democratic lawmaker in Florida has filed a formal complaint against embattled Republican Sen. Jack Latvala that alleges the senator intimidated a woman who accused him of groping.

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  • Latvala claimed he knew the name of one of his (at least) six accusers and essentially outed her when he made public statements describing her. The woman, a Senate staffer, came forward publicly after Latvala compromised her anonymity and expressed her worry that Latvala’s tactic would negatively impact “other victims who desperately want to overcome their fear and speak out.”
  • Latvala, who’s running for governor, may face expulsion from the FSenate (which requires a vote of 26 of the chamber’s 40 members) as a result of this complaint and the sexual harassment complaint that gave rise to it.

O Texascreeps: The Daily Beast has harrowing accounts of harassment by two Democratic—one current, one former—lawmakers in Texas.

Here We Come A-ssailing: Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg has relinquished his leadership position while an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against his husband, Bryon Hefner, runs its course. According to the Boston Globe, Hefner preyed on men working in the capitol and boasted about his spouse’s influence while doing so.

Carol of the Hells: Washington Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller is denying allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from his time as a professor at Central Washington University.

  • He also describes expected action by the Democratic-majority legislature to combat sexual harassment as “an overreaction.”

Wreck the Laws: Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are working to gut the ability of victims of workplace discrimination—sexual harassment-related and otherwise—to recover money from their employers/discriminators.

  • Well, still working, really. In 2012, GOP legislators and Gov. Scott Walker repealed a 2009 law passed by Democrats that allowed victims of sexual harassment and other discrimination seek compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages from their employers.
  • Now Republicans are crafting legislation that would limit discrimination claims by “pre-empting” city and local ordinances.
    • Because of that 2012 repeal, these ordinances are the only way workers can win damages for being demeaned, groped, etc. Under current state law, harassed women and people of color can only recover lost wages, attorneys’ fees, and an order (that’s probably SUPER STERN) that the business stop the mistreatment RIGHT NOW OR ELSE … um, won’t get punished again.
  • Republicans are pushing this pre-emption legislation in the name of “standardizing rules for businesses,” because making things easier for companies is more important than protecting victims, I guess.

Okay, that sucked. So here’s some good news.

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