Harassment Accountability Act, SB 419, Passes Key Policy Committee

Tuesday, January 9 2018


Sacramento, California – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 419, the Legislative Sexual Harassment Retaliation Prevention Act, with bi-partisan support. It is now headed to the full Senate Floor for a vote. SB 419 is authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino, D – La Cañada Flintridge and Senator Connie M. Leyva, D - Chino. It currently has 10 Co-authors and continues to add more. SB 419 proposes to extend protections against all forms of harassment for legislative staffers, legislative advocates and others who have business within the California State Capital.

Senator Portantino has a long record of fighting for reforms, including whistleblower protecting, which he authored while in the Assembly. Senator Leyva is the Vice-Chair of the California Women’s Legislative Caucus.The authors see SB 419 as a companion measure to AB 403 of which Portantino was an original Principal Co-Author and which Leyva and Portantino both support.

“The courageous women who have come forward in Sacramento deserve legislative remedies equal to their concerns and for their safety. In short, all forms of harassment in the Capitol must stop and everyone who works there must feel protected.  As the father of two daughters, I want to make sure the legislative work environment is a place in which I would welcome and want my daughters to be working,” commented Senator Portantino.

SB 419 protects victims of sexual harassment in and around the Legislature against retaliation once cases are reported. In addition, the bill enhances the anti-retaliation provisions of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which protects legislative employees and lobbyists who report sexual or related harassment that is prohibited by FEHA. Under the bill, the California Senate and Assembly would be mandated to maintain a record of each harassment complaint made to that house for a period of twelve years.

“As the Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and joint author of SB 419, I am proud to join Senator Portantino in ensuring greater transparency and helping protect legislative staff as they come forward. As leaders, we must do all we can to fight against sexual harassment in our workplaces—and that certainly includes right here in the State Capitol.  I thank the Senate Judiciary Committee members for their support and look forward to this important bill advancing in the weeks ahead,” said Senator Leyva.