Women lawmakers call for action after misconduct claims - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Women lawmakers call for action after misconduct claims

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Women on Capitol Hill and at our state Capitol are demanding action, as more allegations emerge against men in powerful positions.

Sexual misconduct allegations are shaking up Congress as fellow lawmakers call for resignations. Michigan Rep. John Conyers announced he's retiring and Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is expected to resign this week after allegations against him. 

Sen. Tammy Baldwin tweeted Wednesday, "I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign."

Meanwhile, female lawmakers came together in Washington Wednesday to put an end to the problem. 

"Enough is enough. I mean this is a conversation we've been having for a very long time and it's a conversation that this country needs to have. And I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation. We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable and we, as elected leaders should absolutely be held to a higher standard," said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

State Rep. Lisa Subeck says there isn't a clear and easy process to remove a lawmaker who's accused of misconduct. 

"Unlike in another workplace where somebody might just be fired, a legislator cannot simply be fired tomorrow by their boss and I think that adds a whole layer of complexity," Subeck told 27 News.

Subeck says she's asked her colleague Rep. Josh Zepnick to resign after allegations of misconduct by Capitol staff.

She says state lawmakers are starting to discuss Capitol harassment policies, to make sure everyone feels safe at work and safe coming forward with complaints.

Last week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced records of claims will not be publicly-released to protect the privacy of victims. Subeck says she agrees the most important part of the process is to protect victims.

"Leadership is walking a tough line here. I think ultimately though their first obligation is to victims," Subeck said. "We have an opportunity to take a look at how the release of records is handled. Certainly, there's a balancing test that needs to be met and the public interest has to be a piece of that, but we also have to balance the interest of those victims."

Subeck says people want to have faith in their lawmakers and the surge of recent allegations speaks to the need for more women in office. 

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