HARRISBURG, Pa. - An all-women team of state lawmakers introduced legislation being called the #MeToo Pennsylvania General Assembly Act.
"Its time for us to get our own house in order when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault," said State Rep. Leanne Krueger.
The bill was first introduced last year but didn't make it out of a house committee despite bipartisan support. Now, re-introduced in both the house and senate, the bill would ban the use of non-disclosure agreements for members of the General Assembly accused of sexual harassment or assault. It also calls for any settlements paid with taxpayer dollars to be repaid by the accused member.
"We as elected officials should be held to a higher standard of moral character," said State Sen. Katie Muth. "We should be leading by example. We should be setting the tone for how these types of situations are handled."
In the last year since the legislation was first introduced three lawmakers were accused of sexual harassment or assault. While two of the three were urged to step down or resign, Rep. Krueger says those cases show more procedures need to be put in place under law, not just policies in the Statehouse.
"Women and men need to feel safe if they have been victimized," said Rep. Krueger. "They need to feel safe, they need to be heard, they need to understand someone here in the Capitol will believe them and make sure there's a full investigation if they filed a complaint."
In the last year, 11 other states have passed similar legislation.