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Arizona House Speaker Looks At Legislative Culture Toward Sexual Harassment
With embattled state Representative Don Shooter now suspended as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, House Speaker JD Mesnard is looking inward at the full legislature's conduct.
While he would not condemn Shooter outright, Mesnard admitted allegations came as no surprise considering the dismissive culture, in general, toward sexual harassment at the capitol.
"Clearly we have probably tolerated things in the past that we shouldn't have," Mesnard said.
As people stand up and allegations mount, Mesnard has taken a wider look.
"This is bigger than the Arizona House of Representatives. This is bigger than Representative Shooter," he said.
Going forward, Mesnard said things will change, beginning with ethics training for lawmakers and staff.
"If there is any suggestion that in the past we may have just rolled our eyes at something or ignored something, we're going to be much more strict," Mesnard said.
The Speaker has appointed a panel of seven House staffers to review the allegations, not just against Shooter, but anyone else in the House who has received complaints of harassment.