CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) Every two years Nevada's Legislature meets in Carson City to hammer out bill drafts to eventually become law.
There's plenty of interaction between lawmaker, staff members and lobbyists. But sometimes those contacts can become inappropriate.
That's why at the end of the 2017 Session, lawmakers agreed on a concurrent ruling establishing a sexual harassment policy.
”Because we were seeing cases throughout the country, where there were existing sexual harassment claims,” says Jason Frierson, Nevada Assembly Speaker.
“But victims who did not feel like they had an objective way to report them. Sometimes the victim wanted to report it anonymously and have it investigated in that manner. Other times they wanted to report it openly, but they wanted to be protected from retaliation or other consequences of coming forward,” he says.
Speaker Frierson says this new third party anti-harassment policy allows anyone to fill out a report confidentially, automatically going to a contracted law firm.
That firm will investigate the claim to see if it has merit. If the answer is yes, it goes back to the legislature, where members like the speaker will examine the objective findings.
“But if it does violate the policy, then I think we can do everything. Leadership posts reassigned, to the most extreme of a process to remove a member for inappropriate conduct that impacts how we do business here,” says Frierson.
This process led to the resignation of Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, who left office last month amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Under the policy, the public will not receive the specifics of the allegations, but rather a general description of the accusation. Frierson says by no means is this system perfect.
He does concede with a majority of women serving in the legislature there will be a better understanding of inappropriate conduct and why someone would report the activity.
“We expect everyone that is engaged in this legislative institution to conduct themselves appropriately. And every single person should feel confident that they are going to be respected. And that if they are not, that they have an outlet to express that without fear of retribution, or fear of being disregarded,” says Frierson.
If you want to make a complaint you can go to the legislative websiteor call 1-833-205-7555.