NJ Politics Digest: State Legislators Keep Tight Lid on Harassment Claims

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse.

The Assembly chamber in the New Jersey statehouse. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Want to know which state legislators in New Jersey have been accused of sexual harrassment?

Keep waiting.

In the MeToo age, when lawmakers in other part of the nation are being called out for sexually related transgressions, an Associated Press report has found that New Jersey has no publically available records on sexual harrassment or misconduct claims.

And, a representative for the Democratic-controlled state Assembly told the news agency that even if there were records, state lawmakers would not be required to turn them over for public scrutiny, according to the AP report. That’s because the legislature has exempt itself from much of the state records law.

Current harrassment policies specifically calls for maintaining the confidentiality of those involved. The policy also exempts documents related to the process from the state’s open records law, according to the AP.

Democratic leaders in both houses of the legislature assured the AP that they are reviewing whether the policy needs updating, the report said.

Quote of the Day: “Even if we had records relevant to your requests, we believe that many of these requests are invalid because they do not request specifically identifiable government records and instead seek information requiring the custodian to create new records.” — Kate McDonnell, general counsel for the Assembly Democratic caucus, on an Associated Press request for records about sexual harassment claims against lawmakers.

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NJ Politics Digest: State Legislators Keep Tight Lid on Harassment Claims