Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Sexual harassment reform comes to California

The California Legislature is considering measure that would amend the state's Military and Veterans Code. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman write in this op-ed:

We are proud to be partnering on Senate Bill 352, a California Legislative Women’s Caucus priority bill that will make sexual harassment a crime in California’s military ranks (including the Office of the Adjutant General, California National Guard, State Guard, California Cadet Corps and Naval Militia).

While federal representatives work for change in Washington, California has an opportunity to do as it always does — lead the nation by taking meaningful action with the passage of SB 352. 

Federal representatives such as Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, have introduced legislation to bring about federal reform. While recent support for change from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is promising, more than a year after [Vanessa] Guillen’s death, meaningful reform efforts have yet to be realized.

Sexual harassment is not a crime in the U.S. military. Senate Bill 352 would make it a stand-alone offense in California’s incorporation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, thus removing any question that sexual harassment is punishable in California’s military ranks.

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