* From a Miami Herald story about its state legislature…
The claims followed the abrupt resignation of one of Latvala’s allies, incoming Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Clemens of Atlantis on Oct. 26 — after he admitted to an affair with a lobbyist — and the revelation that a state senator had discovered a surveillance camera placed by a private investigator in a condominium where several legislators stay during the annual session. […]
The sense that people can get away with this kind of behavior in Tallahassee is widespread. One of the tools of the trade is the use of attractive young men and women who are hired by lobbyists to show up in the Capitol and nearby bars in the closing weeks of legislative sessions, flirt with lawmakers, and maybe even offer sexual favors.
They’re called “closers,” a reference to the end of the session when lobbyists need amendments tucked into bills and budgets — and will go to great lengths to get the legislative votes to pass them.
Yikes on both counts. Just imagine a surveillance camera at Lincoln Towers. And I’ve never heard of “closers” before. That state is bizarre.
* More from Florida…
Six women who work in Florida’s Capitol say the state Senate’s powerful budget chairman, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Latvala, has inappropriately touched them without their consent or uttered demeaning remarks about their bodies. […]
Known in the state Capitol for associating with a bevy of young female lobbyists in his office and at bars and restaurants, Latvala, who is married, was under surveillance last spring by an undercover private investigator who snapped a photo of him kissing a lobbyist on the lips in public. In that case, Latvala and the lobbyist said the kissing was innocent and consensual.
* On to Kentucky…
Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover resigned from his position Sunday amid sexual harassment allegations, saying he had made “mistakes.”
Hoover, who The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville reported had secretly settled a sexual harassment allegation by a woman on his legislative staff, did not resign as a state representative, however, and has denied all allegations.
“I did make mistakes, in that I engaged in inappropriate text messages,” the Republican lawmaker said at a press conference announcing his decision. “I engaged in banter that was consensual, yet make no mistake, it was wrong on my part to do that. And for that I am truly sorry.” […]
Hoover’s resignation comes a day after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, also a Republican, called for “the immediate resignation of every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case, who is party to trying to hide this type of behavior.”
* More from Kentucky…
House Speaker Jeff Hoover’s confidential sexual harassment settlement also involves three other House Republicans, as well as Hoover’s chief of staff, sources tell Courier Journal.
Reps. Jim DeCesare of Rockfield, Brian Linder of Dry Ridge and Michael Meredith of Brownsville and Ginger Wills, the chief of staff, also were parties to the settlement, according to sources with knowledge of the deal who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
Legislative interns and other young women in the Kansas Capitol have faced sexual advances and lewd comments from lawmakers of both political parties, but their harassment remained largely hidden until recent revelations.
Three women have accused a former Washington state lawmaker of sexual harassment and assault during his time in the Legislature, becoming the latest statehouse with women reporting misconduct by men.
* Rhode Island…
Top Rhode Island Democrat Joseph DeLorenzo quit the party Thursday after making dismissive comments about a Democrat state representative’s sexual harassment claims against a fellow lawmaker.
Describing himself as ‘‘infuriated and deeply disturbed’’ about allegations of sexual harassment at the Statehouse, the Democratic leader of the Massachusetts House on Friday ordered an immediate review of his chamber’s policies on harassment and retaliation, while promising to investigate any reported incidents.
Speaker Robert DeLeo took to the House floor shortly after a column appeared in The Boston Globe that detailed a series of alleged incidents over the past two decades or so, including one in which a female lobbyist said a legislator strongly implied to her that he would vote for a bill in exchange for sex.
A longtime Oregon state senator has been warned bluntly by the Senate president not to touch any women following complaints of inappropriate contact.
“Let me (be) very clear,” reads a letter from Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney to Sen. Jeff Kruse, a Republican. “Women in the Capitol do not want you to touch them.”
* More Oregon…
The leaders of the Oregon House of Representatives said Friday that they’ve fielded complaints of harassment against a male lawmaker in the House as well as male staff members and lobbyists.
House Speaker Tina Kotek said two people made informal complaints to her about the conduct of Rep. David Gomberg.
One of the most disturbing incidents to emerge involves Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, a Los Angeles Democrat who lost his seat to Democrat Patty Lopez in 2014, but regained it in 2016 with broad support of his party’s leaders.
He received that support even though he had been secretly admonished for stalking a legislative staffer and grabbing her beneath her clothes at an event in 2009. After the case was revealed, Bocanegra issued an apology, but now faces demands from women in his district to resign, The Sacramento Bee reported last week.
The story about the harassment letter broke just two days after Kevin de León, the president pro tem of the state Senate, announced that he would challenge U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow Democrat, next year.
For de León, the timing could not have been worse. For four years running, his close friend, Sen. Ricardo Lara, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has buried, without a vote, legislation that would give legislative employees the same rights that civil service workers enjoy to complain about working conditions without retaliation – bills introduced by Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.
I’m sure I’ve missed some states here. But you get the idea.