Screen-Shot-2018-01-04-at-11.25.34-AM.png

Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 4, 20188min389
The four leaders of the Colorado General Assembly laid out their priorities for the session that starts next week, and while there’s room for agreement on just what the priorities are, how to get there is another matter. The leaders spoke during a question-and-answer session Thursday morning for the fourth annual Legislative Preview Breakfast hosted […]

This content is only available to subscribers.

Login or Subscribe


IMG_20171105_163414-1280x960.jpg

Jessica MachettaDecember 14, 20173min663

Lawmakers will meet Dec. 15 at the statehouse to discuss hiring an independent consultant that would manage complaints of sexual harassment in the Capitol.

Formal complaints are currently filed with House or Senate leadership, and though the process ensures confidentiality, some have said concerns about pushback have made them stay silent.

“We have a current reporting system and we have a zero-tolerance policy for such things,” Senate President Kevin Grantham said when complaints first surfaced in November, “but we’re going to have someone come in and see where the holes are, where we can fill the gaps, review and possibly overhaul the way we do things to make it a better system.”

That review will look at best practices, including record keeping, protections against retribution, online reporting, and safeguards to allow patterns of harassment to be detected and handled appropriately.

“This is about working together to address what clearly is a problem,” House Speaker Crisanta Duran said. “I am glad that all four caucuses have agreed to set up a comprehensive review of our harassment policies, and I hope that through this process we can create a welcoming and respectful workplace for everyone.”

The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council includes Grantham, Duran, Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, House Majority Leader KC Becker, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville.

According to the agenda, the committee will consider hiring a human resources professional. It will also review review the legislature’s existing workplace harassment policy and discuss whether more workplace harassment training is needed for lawmakers and legislative staff.

Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, set off a firestorm when she filed a formal complaint against Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, with Duran’s office alleging Lebsock made sexually crude remarks to her at a gathering at a bar at the end of the 2016 legislative session. KUNC’s Bente Birkland reported that former lobbyist Holly Tarry and former legislative aide Cassie Tanner also accuse Lebsock of behaving inappropriately.

Reps. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, Randy Baumgardner, R-Breckenridge, and Jack Tate, R-Centennial, have also been accused of sexual harassment.

All four lawmakers have denied any wrongdoing.


IMG_9251.jpg

Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsNovember 21, 20174min604

House and Senate leadership will meet to review of how workplace harassment issues are handled in the General Assembly, according to a Tuesday press release. The meeting is in direct response to allegations of workplace harassment involving four Colorado legislators.

The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council is hiring an independent consultant to review the legislature’s existing procedures regarding workplace harassment and issue recommendations to the legislature, as well as to determine the review’s scope and timeline.

The review will research the matter and seek input from those involved, and will then hold a hearing on the recommendations and proposed rule changes.

The review will also look at:

· A best-practices survey of workplace harassment policies in other states and the private sector.

· Whether an independent body or other neutral third-party organization should be established to handle workplace harassment complaints, and potential models to consider.

· Suitable methods for reporting complaints, including online reporting options.

· How confidentiality should be handled in workplace harassment or sexual harassment complaints.

· Suitable remedies for complaints of workplace harassment.

· Record keeping.

· Protections against retribution.

· Proper safeguards to allow patterns of harassment to be clearly detected and handled appropriately.

· Best practices for awareness and training on what constitutes workplace harassment and the procedure for filing a complaint under the policy.

 

Research and input will be gathered from a wide range of sources, 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.

Legislative leaders have agreed to discuss formalizing proposals for workplace harassment training to be conducted annually for all legislators and staff and to be expanded to offer the most comprehensive training available. Currently, workplace harassment training is held every two years and is mandatory for all legislators and all new staffers.

The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council includes Senate President Kevin Grantham, House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, House Majority Leader KC Becker, Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. The date and time of the Executive Committee meeting will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

Four state lawmakers face allegations of sexual harassment: Rep. Steve Lebsock, Rep. Paul Rosenthal, Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Sen. Jack Tate. All of them have denied any wrongdoing.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran issued a statement saying, “This is not a partisan issue; this is about working together to address what clearly is a problem.

“I am glad that all four caucuses have agreed to set up a comprehensive review of our harassment policies, and I hope that through this process we can create a welcoming and respectful workplace for everyone.”


2016-10-30-02_48_38-Jon-Keyser-talks-to-Marshall-Zelinger-YouTube.png

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 9, 20173min553

Remember Republican rising star Jon Keyser’s highly touted but short-lived bid for the U.S. Senate last year? His ambitions imploded en route to last June’s GOP primary amid findings that a worker had forged signatures to land him a spot on the primary ballot.

In the end, paid petition circulator Maureen Marie Moss, 45, was sentenced to four years probation on each of two forgery counts along with 250 hours of community service. Keyser faded from the political scene.

A bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. John Hickenlooper will improve the state’s ability to weed out such fraud on the petitions used by many candidates to qualify for their party primaries.

When it takes effect Aug. 9, House Bill 1088 will require the Secretary of State’s Office to compare each signature on a candidate petition with the signature stored in the statewide voter registration database. Under the current system, the state only verifies the address listed for each voter signing a petition.

The proposal was sponsored in the 2017 legislative session by Republican House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock along with his dad, Republican Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton.

A press release from the House GOP quoted the junior Neville:

“This new law will protect the integrity of the petition process, and ensure every candidate has an equal opportunity to get their name on the ballot. … The unanimous support from my colleagues for this legislation shows the importance of protecting the petition process, and I am thankful for all the support and assistance we received to pass this bill.” 

By the way, Keyser landed on his feet though not in politics. As we noted a while back, he is now a corporate counsel with motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee.