(Sacramento, CA) – In remarks delivered under a procedural motion known as speaking on condition of the file, Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County) made the following remarks concerning the status of Senator Mendoza’s leave of absence due to an ongoing Senate investigation about alleged sexual harassment:
“Mr. President … Under condition of the file.
“In the Senate Standards of Conduct that every Member of this body has received, the first resolution is that “Each Senator shall conduct himself or herself so as to justify the high trust reposed in him or her by the people and to promote public confidence in the integrity of the Senate.”
“In our first session of the year, it was decided by the Majority Party that a member of this body who has been subject of intense media attention due to allegations surrounding sexual harassment should take a paid leave of absence while this body has had a chance to investigate the allegations.
“After that decision – which was made without the consultation with the Minority Party – was reached, I believe we were all somewhat surprised to read in the media that a member who agreed to take a paid leave of absence was still conducting business in and around the State Capitol.
“Even worse, the reports I’ve heard allege our colleague has been going to parties, receptions, holding court with lobbyists and others at downtown restaurants.
“Unless I’m missing something, our colleague doesn’t seem to be taking this whole situation seriously – and that’s unforgivable.
“It has also come to my attention that the Member in question was even allowed to use Senate resources to shuttle himself around the Capitol.
“I’m certainly hoping the Senate didn’t pay for his travel up here to Sacramento. It seems strange to me also that the Legislative Women’s Caucus – who time and time again claims it stands up for women’s rights, gender pay equality, and talks about pervasive unequal treatment of women – has been absolutely silent on the issue of our colleague who is currently on a state-paid vacation while being investigated for sexual harassment.
“A resolution calling for the expulsion of the Senator under investigation is currently being held in Rules Committee, but I’ve heard nothing from the Women’s Caucus.
“Why has the resolution been held in the Rules Committee?
“Is it for fear that people who vote for it may subject themselves to retribution or reprisal from people who hold powerful positions within this body?
“Is it because some may be concerned that if they speak out in support of the resolution, they will lose powerful chairmanships or committee assignments?
“Each of us on this Floor were elected by citizens in our districts to keep the public trust, preserve the integrity of the Senate and serve the people of California.
“A member who is on a leave of absence to allow a thorough investigation involving serious allegations of pervasive sexual harassment should not be conducting state business here in Sacramento or in his district.
“Each of our offices this week received a flyer listing phone numbers that people can call if they feel they feel they have been a victim of harassment.
“I’m hopeful our staff and people who do business with the Senate feel confident that they will not be retaliated against or face retribution for reporting harassment.
“Mr. President: – Sexual harassment should never be tolerated. Those who report it should be totally shielded and protected against retaliation or retribution for speaking out.
“Finally, my sincere hope is that the Legislative Women’s Caucus will start standing up for the women it claims to protect and join the efforts to ensure Senators aren’t allowed to prey upon vulnerable staff, fellows or interns by openly speaking out against sexual harassment even if the alleged perpetrator is a Democrat.
In quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘It is always the right time to do the right thing.’ I’m asking the women’s caucus to do the right thing.
To view Senator Stone’s comments, please click on the following link: