Legislative leaders set meeting to review workplace harassment policies at Colorado Capitol

Author: Ernest Luning - November 28, 2017 - Updated: November 29, 2017

The Colorado Capitol dome is illuminated from within on Opening Day of the General Assembly Jan. 13, 2016. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)The Colorado Capitol dome is illuminated from within on Opening Day of the General Assembly Jan. 13, 2016. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Colorado House and Senate leaders plan to meet in mid-December to review workplace harassment policies at the state Capitol in the wake of a flurry of recent allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against legislators, Senate President Kevin Grantham said Tuesday.

The Legislative Council’s Executive Committee — made up of leaders from both parties in both chambers of the General Assembly — plans to hire an independent consultant to review existing procedures and issue recommendations to lawmakers. The panel also plans to discuss proposals to expand the scope and frequency of harassment training for legislators and staff.

“I look forward to meeting with leaders of both the Senate and the House to discuss how we can improve upon, and expand, our current workplace harassment policies to ensure that everybody in the Capitol can feel comfortable, safe, and respected,” said Grantham, a Cañon City Republican and chair of the committee, in a statement.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran said she’s glad the discussion is moving forward.

“It’s important that we hire an outside expert to review our processes and make recommendations about what works, what needs to be changed and the training and tools needed to create a workplace in which everyone feels safe,” the Denver Democrat said in a statement.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Capitol.

The review will also include a survey of harassment policies in other states and in the private sector, different options for reporting complaints about harassment, policies concerning confidentiality of complaints and possible remedies when workplace harassment has taken place, legislative leaders said.

Four state lawmakers face recent, public allegations of sexual harassment: Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton; Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver; Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs; and Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial. All of them have denied any wrongdoing.

The committee intends to consult with various sources in its review, including the Office of Legislative Legal Services, Legislative Council, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the state Department of Personnel and Administration, the state attorney general’s office, human resources and employment law experts, victims’ advocacy groups, legislators, employees and others who do business at the Legislature.

In addition to Grantham and Duran, members of the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council include Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver; Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker; House Majority Leader KC Becker, D-Boulder; and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.