On Wednesday, February 13, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D – Bronx/Westchester) chaired a joint public legislative hearing on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – the first in 27 years. Experts and survivors shared essential testimony. The hearing lasted 11 hours.
In her opening statement (see video below), Senator Biaggi said, “Our task is urgent. It’s intolerable, absolutely maddening, that sexual harassment persists. We must remember that right now, as I speak, someone is being harassed and does not know what to do about it. But we must take the time to get it right this time. As we update New York’s laws, policies, and protocols with respect to sexual harassment, it is also incumbent upon each of us to take personal responsibility to support a culture of mutual respect and care.”
Following the hearing, Senator Biaggi is as resolved as ever to correct current policies that often provide no clear path for victims to report harassment and abuse. This lack of systemic support and transparency frequently adds to the trauma initially experienced in the workplace. Expert testimony advanced ideas for new legislation that would strengthen anti-harassment laws currently on the books and make the workplace safer for New Yorkers in both the private and public sector.
To survivors, Senator Biaggi said: “We are your advocates and champions in State government. We are here to gather knowledge in order to design laws that leave no one unconsidered, neglected, ignored, or silenced. We are listening… and we will act.”
Freshman State Senator Alessandra Biaggi beat Sen Jeff Klein – one of the most powerful men in New York States politics, former head of the IDC – in Democratic Primary Election for the 34th New York State Senate District in September.