Lawmakers make changes after harassment allegations engulf State Capitol

DENVER - On Friday, leaders of both parties in the General Assembly took steps to change and improve sexual harassment policies at the State Capitol.

For the past several weeks, four lawmakers have been accused of harassment—shining a spotlight on current practices

“We are in unchartered territory for the Colorado legislature,” Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham said during a committee meeting Friday.

“We want to get something done,” Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran emphasized to her fellow lawmakers.

In the end three actions were taken.

Lawmakers agreed to create an HR position to handle complaints, hire an outside consultant to examine current practices, and finally make sexual harassment training mandatory every year. Currently training occurs every two years.

“Issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault are way too important to let politics get in the way,” Duran said.

“Just making sure we are as respectful and mindful as we can be,” Grantham added, speaking to the changing culture.

Not everyone, however is pleased with the process.

Alan Kennedy Schafer, the attorney for Thomas Cavaness who is alleging harassment from Rep. Paul Rosenthal, attempted to interrupt the hearing Friday by interrupting the lawmakers. Schafer is upset no public testimony was heard.

“I believe victims need to be given a chance to weigh in,” Schafer said.