Snyder proposes to require lobbyists to complete ethics and discrimination training

HARRISBURG, May 6 – In an effort to curtail sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, reintroduced her legislation that would require lobbyists to complete ethics and discrimination training in order to legally register as a lobbyist in Pennsylvania.

“Lobbyists are in the Capitol with state officials and state employees who are required to complete this training, so it only makes sense that they too must complete it and be held accountable for their action,” Snyder said, “Lobbyists are not above the law or our compliance standards, so the fact that they are not required to receive harassment and discrimination training truly is a liability and it’s unacceptable.”

National movements, such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, have revealed instances of discrimination and sexual misconduct in state governments throughout the country. Snyder said to ensure that Pennsylvania’s Capitol is free from harassing and discriminatory behaviors, policies and procedures must be in place holding people that are in the Capitol responsible for their actions.

“As times change, it’s imperative that legislation does as well. Therefore, we need to ensure we have all our bases covered in order to create and maintain a safe work environment and be proactive about mitigating any form of misconduct. It’s especially important because harassment and discrimination cases have surfaced more and more in every state, and unfortunately Pennsylvania is not an exception to that,” Snyder said.

Philadelphia lobbyist Andrew Marsico plead no contest in a plea deal to simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment in 2015 after a woman accused him of rape when she attended a meeting inside his Philadelphia office.

“The Marsico case is an excellent example of why this training needs to be mandatory for not only public officials and employees, but for lobbyists, as well. Marsico was affiliated with one of the largest lobbying firms in Harrisburg, so we cannot simply turn a blind eye to actions such as these just because of someone’s status as a lobbyist,” Snyder said.

Snyder’s legislation proposing lobbyists be required to complete ethics and discrimination training is just one part of a package of bills addressing topics regarding workplace discrimination and sexual harassment being put forth by Democrats in the House and Senate.

House Bill 1054 is currently being considered in the State Government Committee.