Three male lawmakers resigned in direct relation to allegations against them. A fourth resigned citing health reasons but the Legislature on Wednesday released an investigation finding that he likely forcibly kissed an Assembly employee. In total, allegations against ten California lawmakers were made public, including some that were investigated before the letter.
Eighty-five state lawmakers across the country have resigned, been disciplined or been publicly accused of sexual misconduct since the beginning of 2017, according to an ongoing tally by The Associated Press.
California legislative leaders touted the new plan as the most comprehensive of any Legislature to address misconduct. As of August 2018, lawmakers in 11 states took action to require outside investigations of sexual misconduct complaints, according to an AP analysis.
Both the California Assembly and Senate initially moved toward hiring outside investigators to handle complaints. The new Workplace Conduct Unit is an in-house system under the legislative counsel's office, but it is independent of either chamber.
The appointment of the outside panel of experts appears to be unique to California. The Assembly and Senate each appointed one member, while California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye selected three.
They are: Connie Broussard, an attorney at a private law firm who specializes in bias training and workplace investigations; Vicki Laden, who has worked on sexual misconduct issues as the University of California, San Francisco, and for the Oakland city attorney; Linda Foy, a former attorney with the Judicial Council of California; Crystal Miller-O'Brien, corporate counsel for a firm that handles outsourced human resources work; and Fred Plevin, an employment attorney who used to represent the California Judicial Branch.
The investigative unit will be run by Julia Johnson, who was chosen by the legislative counsel without input from legislative leaders, they said. Johnson, a former assistant general counsel for the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency, will make roughly $173,000 annually.