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Lawmakers meet to discuss sexual harassment policies, choose not to broadcast meeting

Posted by   /  January 10, 2018  /  No Comments

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By Jim Small | Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Members of Arizona’s House of Representatives convened a joint caucus on the House floor to receive training on harassment in the workplace and to have a discussion about the legislative chamber’s policies and punishments.

Although the meeting was recorded by the Legislature’s broadcast department, it was not broadcasted anywhere.

The House of Representatives routinely broadcasts caucus meetings on the closed-circuit television network and streams them on the Legislature’s website, but did not do so today.

Related: Rep. Shooter jokes, points fingers during apology for alleged sexual harassment

Related: Citing Roy Moore, Arizona lawmakers debate time limits for sexual-harassment complaints

As a result, Arizonans were not able to watch in real-time as Rep. Don Shooter apologized for inappropriate remarks and unwelcome touching, in response to allegations made against him in November.

The public also couldn’t see the debate the ensued about whether there should be a “statute of limitations” for allegations of improper behavior – or that Shooter advocated for “a concrete cut-off date” for allegations to be made and cited failed Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual misdeeds with teenagers during the 1970s, as evidence that limits are needed.

“How do you defend yourself against that?” Shooter said.

A spokesman for House Speaker J.D. Mesnard’s office said the joint caucus meeting was not broadcast because no legislative business was being conducted.

In response to a public records request, the Arizona House of Representatives provided the recording of the meeting.

Mesnard ended the meeting after roughly four hours, and said the body would meet again Thursday, Jan. 18 to continue the training.

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