The Joint Legislative Democratic Women’s Caucus outlined a three-point plan Wednesday to address harassment, misconduct and discrimination in the North Carolina General Assembly. Members want legislative leaders to institute:
- Immediate mandatory ethics training for General Assembly members and staff focused on sexual harassment, abuse, misconduct, gender bias and other forms of discrimination;
- Adoption of an “effective zero-tolerance policy” for sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination;
- Formation of a system to report incidents of improper or unethical conduct to an independent, neutral third party.
Signed by co-chairs Senator Erica Smith  and Rep. Carla Cunningham , the statement went on to read: “Request for sex/sexual favors as conditions of employment, gender biased appointments and assignments, inappropriate gestures, physical contact or innuendos, discriminatory comments, jokes and the use of racial epithets are serious breaches of professional ethics and workplace standards.”
The strongly-worded action comes on the heels of allegations of misconduct  by Rep. Duane Hall. The three-term Wake County Democrat has denied any wrongdoing.
Read the full text of the caucus’ statement below: