House passes ethics bill on legislative harassment

By – Associated Press – Thursday, March 7, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Following a year in which four state lawmakers either lost an election or resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations, the Washington House has passed a measure that makes such harassment a violation of the state’s Ethics in Public Service Act.

The bill passed the chamber on a unanimous vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Ethics Act prohibits state employees and officers from using their positions for personal gain, and prohibits things like receiving gifts or outside compensation for official duties, or using one’s position to get special privileges. But it currently does not harassment as a violation of the ethics act.

Earlier this year, both chambers of the Legislature passed a resolution adopting a code of conduct stating each member of the legislative community is expected to treat others with respect and not engage in discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying.

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