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New policy aims to stamp out harassment in state government

A culture of secrecy has long shielded state lawmakers accused of sexual harassment in New York. But advocates hope a new policy will bring accountability and prevent further misconduct.

Posted: Apr. 11, 2018 11:17 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A culture of secrecy has long shielded state lawmakers accused of sexual harassment in New York. But advocates hope a new policy will bring accountability and prevent further misconduct.

Two weeks ago the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed on a uniform policy prohibiting harassment at all levels of government. The rules prohibit secret harassment settlements and require government officials found liable for harassment to pay the cost of their settlements.

Albany has a long history of secret harassment settlements, sometimes paid with taxpayer money. That allowed lawmakers to resolve the claims without public scrutiny.

The public still can't access records about harassment claims, however, because the state Legislature isn't subject to the state's own open records law.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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