It seems that even having a woman as the majority leader of the state Senate isn’t enough to get New York lawmakers to focus on their own #MeToo issues.
Going back decades, the Legislature has hushed up harassment, abuse and even rape. But, despite year-long demands for hearings on their own internal issues, the Assembly and Senate recently announced a single, joint hearing on harassment in all New York workplaces.
Weirder still, it’s set for Feb. 13, right before Valentine’s Day.
One hearing? In a recent Siena poll, 70 percent of New Yorkers said sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant problem. And 45 percent of women said they’ve been the victim of workplace sexual harassment. Which leaves plenty of room for the hearing to never get around to the Legislature’s own problems.
Maybe the meeting will be just the first sign of a new day dawning in Albany. Four of the six lawmakers co-chairing the hearing are women. And one of them, freshman Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, won her seat campaigning in part against the mysterious status of misconduct charges against the incumbent, then-Sen. Jeff Klein.
“The wheels of justice often turn slowly,” Biaggi wrote state leaders. “In cases of sexual assault and harassment, New Yorkers should not have to worry that they are not turning at all.”
Now that she’s won, let’s hope that Biaggi can ensure those wheels start turning.
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