Schweyer demands new protection and transparency to prevent sexual harassment

HARRISBURG, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, released the following statement concerning the growing number of sexual harassment allegations and settlements against Pennsylvania lawmakers:  

“I read with great disgust the recent media reports detailing inappropriate sexual behavior by members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly,” Schweyer said. “The victims deserve our support for their bravery in approaching this incredibly difficult subject head on. They, along with every resident of Pennsylvania, have my commitment that we as elected Representatives will dramatically change the culture and rules in Harrisburg.  We can no longer enable legislators who prey on others and we can no longer use taxpayer dollars to conceal their actions. 

“As a member of the House Ethics Committee, I cannot comment on any specific member or incident. However, I will unequivocally state three specific points:

  1. We must establish clear guidelines for victims to report incidents that protect their privacy and prevent workplace retaliation;

  2. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to pay for the appalling personal behavior of individual members, and I strongly support legislation being drafted that would end this practice;

  3. The Bi-Partisan House Ethics Committee must be empowered to review each and every claim brought forward against a member of the House and be allowed the authority to recommend appropriate action. 

“Americans are no longer staying silent about hostile work environments and abhorrent behaviors in the workplace. The Pennsylvania Legislature has a moral responsibility to not only make these necessary changes but to take a leadership role in creating an environment welcoming to our employees and the public at large. 

“It is well past the time that we lawmakers take a stand on behalf of the victims, employees, taxpayers and public at large and declare that those in power can never use their position to abuse.”