Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Chair Senator James Beach and Senator Kristin Corrado, which would restrict how certain individuals can settle sexual assault and harassment cases, cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee today.
“If we are going to create an environment in Trenton where all women feel safe, valued and respected, we must look at how we handle claims of sexual assault and harassment,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “It is absolutely unacceptable that campaign donations can be used to pay off survivors of sexual assault. And we cannot stand idly by while government agencies and public officials then use NDAs to silence women and prevent them from sharing their stories. The only way we are going to change the culture in male dominated spaces is if we put an end to the backroom deals which enable these things to be swept under the rug.”
The bill, S-593, would prohibit a state agency from entering into a nondisclosure agreement with an individual claiming they were sexually assaulted or harassed by a state officer, employee or member of the legislature.
“Any attempt to silence women from sharing their stories is reprehensible and must end,” said Senator Kristin Corrado (R- Bergen/Essex/Morris/Passaic). “The New Jersey Legislature’s efforts to provide critical safeguards to protect employees should serve an as example to State governments across the nation. This legislation will empower survivors to step forward while also preventing the use of campaign funds to bankroll sexual harassment and assault claims.”
The bill would also prohibit the use of campaign funds to make a settlement payment to an individual claiming they were sexually assaulted or harassed by a candidate or an employee of a candidate.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.