Democrats say the Republican-controlled Minnesota House is taking too long to address the issue of sexual harassment at the State Capitol, and before leaving for the Passover/Easter break DFLers tried to set up a task force of outside experts to make recommendations. Hopkins Democrat Cheryl Youakim asked, “How much longer are we gonna have to wait?… I know Democracy works slow. Sometimes there’s good reasons for that. Working slow on this issue, there is no good reason for that.” Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin responded it’s a serious issue and shouldn’t be left to a “slipshod proposal” from an outside group. “Let’s just skip the middleman and let’s deal with the task that we were elected to deal with,” Peppin says.
But Saint Paul Democrat Erin Murphy says the talk in the hallways of the Capitol is that attention to the issue of sex harassment has gone away: “That this body isn’t really gonna deal with this issue, that it has been set aside, sent away, to be dealt with — or maybe not dealt with at all: That we’ll just stick with the status quo.” Republicans say they’ve held a number of hearings and they’re gathering information to craft a strong policy against sexual harassment and procedures for investigating allegations.