Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. Photo: Paul Sancya / AP

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is introducing new legislation to address the issue of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. "Congress should never be above the law or play by their own set of rules," Gillibrand said in a statement, per Politico."The current process has little accountability and even less sensitivity to victims of sexual harassment."

Why it matters: After allegations of harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, reports surfaced that many women lawmakers on the Hill have experienced similar situations from their colleagues. Sexual harassment prevention training isn't mandatory for lawmakers and those who allege misconduct against their coworkers are required to take a 30-day "meditation" period before filing formal complaints.

Gillibrand's proposed bill would go beyond simply requiring mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for members; it would also include a complete overhaul of the office that manages workplace misconduct on the Hill, the Office of Compliance. It would also grant interns on the Hill to file harassment complaints in the same way as full-time employees, as well as require every congressional office to publicly post information about employees' rights.

Some of the lawmakers who have come forward, sharing their stories with The Associated Press:

  • Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) said when she was a new member of Congress, a more senior, married member "outright propositioned" her. He's still in Congress. She also alleged a different male colleague repeatedly ogled her and one time even touched her inappropriately on the House floor.
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said back in the 1980s, a male colleague made a sexually suggestive comment that he wanted to "associate with the gentle lady."
  • Former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) said she endured comments from one member for years, including him telling her he'd been thinking about her in the shower.
  • Former Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) said she remembers repeated unwanted harassing overtures from one lawmaker.
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) last week said she was "forcibly kissed by the male chief of staff in her office" when she was a young aide on the Hill, per Politico.

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."