#MeToo Inspires New Legislation in Vermont Statehouse

Vermont lawmakers announced new legislation they said was inspired in large part by the #MeToo movement, which saw survivors of sexual assault and harassment sharing their stories—often on social media.

Representatives discussed the new bill Thursday at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.

It proposes a number of protections for Vermonters against workplace sexual harassment, including banning employment agreements that prevent or discourage a victim from disclosing harassment.

The bill would grant the Vermont Attorney General’s office and the state’s Human Rights Commission the authority to audit workplaces to make sure they’re following state sexual harassment laws.

It also calls for a series of new education and outreach initiatives.

“These are all very important parts of putting an end to the lawless behavior of workplace sexual harassment,” said Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, who introduced the legislation along with House colleagues.

“It is time that we strengthen our laws, our public resources, and education, so that no Vermonter –no Vermonter—has to say #MeToo again,” added Rep. Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, who also played a leading role in crafting the legislation.

The bill sponsors said Thursday it has the tri-partisan support of Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives.

It will be discussed in the House committee that deals with labor relations issues.

NBC 5 News contributed to this report.

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