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As I See It

WI lawmakers still struggling to deal with harassment allegations



It has become an issue seemingly everywhere. Sexual harassment in the workplace. It is happening in politics, including in Wisconsin. But the state still hasn’t properly figured out how to deal with it. At the Wisconsin state capitol, Rep. Josh Zepnick faces claims from two women who allege he kissed them against their will. Zepnick has been stripped of his committee assignments, and is no longer allowed to caucus with party leaders. But he remains in office. And there is no policy in place for how to deal with that. Zepnick is not alone. Records show there have been at least four complaints of sexual harassment in the Wisconsin Legislature over the past decade. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse initially insisted reports of sexual misconduct among members of the legislature or their staff be kept private. She and others now seem willing to consider making the reports public, while keeping names of victims private. As voters, and taxpayers, we have the right to know when our politicians are behaving badly. Now we are learning that while the Wisconsin Legislature provides sexual harassment training to its new members, that training is not mandatory. In light of the allegations, that training should be mandatory. It is important that our lawmakers get this right, and that means no longer sweeping sexual harassment claims under the rug.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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