A set of bipartisan bills sponsored by Assemblywomen Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex) and Nancy Muñoz (R-Union) to address the concerns of harassment and discrimination reporting practices as well as state hiring processes during a gubernatorial transition was signed into law on Monday by Governor Phil Murphy. The legislation would also apply to all State employees.
Pintor Marin and Muñoz served as chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Legislative Select Oversight Committee.
The panel convened in late October 2018 after allegations surfaced by Murphy campaign staffer Katie Brennan of rape against a member of the gubernatorial transition team who later held a senior position in the Administration. The mandate of the committee was to determine appropriate legislative actions, if necessary, that would prevent delay, discourage miscommunication, and protect all State employees upon disclosure of incidents pertaining to discrimination and harassment.
“I am proud of the work we’ve done in the Legislative Select Oversight Committee,” said Pintor Marin. “Our findings were clear. Ms. Brennan’s matter was grossly neglected and mishandled. We believe that should another victim come forward in the future, with regard to any gubernatorial transition committee for any Governor, or someone employed by State government, there must be a road map of clear actions to follow to address it fairly and quickly. These bills will begin to right the wrongs we discovered through our investigation.”
“After receiving hours of testimony from many involved in this matter, much of it conflicted and lacking a paper trail, I believe these bills are the next best steps for the Legislature to advance and prevent Ms. Brennan’s horrific experience from happening to someone else,” said Muñoz. “It has become evident that there is more we can do to protect all State workers, especially those who are in transition to becoming a State employee.”
The bills signed into law include the following:
|A-5624||Requires that State employee serve as Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action officer for gubernatorial transitions.|
|A-5625||Requires payment of expenses related to background investigations for certain gubernatorial transition positions.|
|Requires Civil Service Commission establish standardize recordkeeping and retention requirements with regard to unclassified State employees.
Specifies certain requirements for State agency review of complaint of workplace discrimination.
|A-5632||Requires certain public employees receive additional training to manage harassment or discrimination complaints.