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BR 212 - K. Fleming , K. Moser

     AN ACT relating to legislative ethics.
     Create new sections of KRS 6.601 to 6.849 to make it ethical misconduct for a legislator, legislative agent, or director of the Legislative Research Commission to engage in discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment; define "discrimination," "harassment," "sexual harassment," and "workplace complaint"; grant the Legislative Ethics Commission jurisdiction to investigate and proceed upon receipt of a complaint from an employee of the legislative branch regarding discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment allegedly committed by a legislator, legislative agent, or director of the Legislative Research Commission; require that allegations of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment by one employee of the legislative branch against another employee of the legislative branch be referred to the Legislative Research Commission; require the Legislative Ethics Commission to establish a legislative ethics telephone tip line to allow employees of the legislative branch to report complaints of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment; require the Legislative Ethics Commission and the Legislative Research Commission to publicize the existence of the legislative ethics telephone tip line; require the legislative ethics telephone tip line to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the Legislative Ethics Commission providing staff during regular business hours and allowing for recorded messages during nonbusiness hours; require the forwarding of information reported on the legislative ethics telephone tip line to the executive director of the Legislative Ethics Commission or his or her designee on an approved form; provide that within 24 hours of the receipt of a workplace complaint that the Legislative Ethics Commission executive director make an initial determination as to whether a workplace complaint meets the criteria for consideration and notify the complainant of the determination; provide that the alleged violator shall be notified and given the opportunity to file a written response after receiving a written statement detailing allegations; provide that within seven days of receiving a response or expiration of the deadline for receiving a response from the alleged violator the Legislative Ethics Commission chair, vice chair, and executive director shall interview the complainant, the alleged violator, and any other person with information relevant to the complaint; provide that within 14 business days of completion of the interviews, the Legislative Ethics Commission shall give notice of the status of the workplace complaint and a general statement of applicable law to the complainant and alleged violator; provide that within 30 business days of receipt of a workplace complaint the complaint file shall be closed if the Legislative Ethics Commission chair and vice chair agree that the workplace complaint is resolved or agree that there is no credible allegation of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment; allow the Legislative Ethics Commission chair and vice chair to refer a workplace complaint to another federal or state agency if they determine that the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Ethics Commission; if the Legislative Ethics Commission chair and vice chair do not agree whether a workplace complaint is resolved but agree that there is a credible allegation of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment, the Legislative Ethics Commission enforcement counsel shall file a complaint; a legislator, legislative agent, or an employee of the legislative branch may file a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment at any time under KRS 6.686; set forth confidentiality provisions; provide that complainants shall not be subject to reprisal; require the annual reporting of complaints processed using the legislative ethics telephone tip line; provide that nothing prevents a legislator, legislative agent, or legislative branch employee from pursuing other avenues to report complaints of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment; permit employees who report complaints to seek assistance from the Kentucky Employee Assistance Program or from private health professionals for matters related to workplace complaints; declare that if a provision of KRS 6.601 to 6.849 is designated a misdemeanor or felony, an alleged violation of the provision may be adjudicated by the Legislative Ethics Commission as ethical misconduct; amend KRS 6.661 to restrict political activity by the Legislative Ethics Commission staff; amend KRS 6.686 to allow dismissal of complaints by teleconference held by the Legislative Ethics Commission; allow complaints to be filed against former legislators, former legislative agents, and for employers of former legislative agents for extended periods if they are related to discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment; if a complainant publicly discloses or comments on a complaint or preliminary inquiry, the Legislative Ethics Commission may dismiss the complaint without prejudice via teleconference; amend KRS 6.701 to include legislative branch employees in mandatory ethics education already required for legislators; amend KRS 6.716 to require the Legislative Ethics Commission to administer a current issues seminar for legislative branch employees in addition to the existing requirement for legislators; amend KRS 6.787 to include in legislator "statement of financial interests" information regarding out of state travel associated with the performance of legislative duties, including the name of any person or organization who paid for transportation, food, lodging, or travel expenses and the value of the expenses paid.



     Sep 26, 2018 - Prefiled by the sponsor(s).