SANTA FE, N.M. — The Latest on concerns of sexual misconduct in New Mexico politics (all times local):
The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office is encouraging political lobbyists to undergo voluntary training to prevent sexual harassment or misconduct in the Legislature.
Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Wednesday that she hopes to guard against possible misconduct by giving lobbyists the chance to enroll in anti-harassment training.
The goal is for Lobbyists to be able to check a box on registration forms to indicate whether they have undergone training. Those forms are due in mid-December ahead of the January legislative session.
Toulouse Oliver says that her own agency is reviewing options to make sure employees have completed similar training. Training was last provided in 2015.
At least four state lawmakers are married to lobbyists.
Three New Mexico youth groups allied with the Democratic Party are calling on a state senator to withdraw from the race for lieutenant governor and resign from the Legislature because of decade-old allegations that he harassed women.
University of New Mexico College Democrats Board President Jackie Luchini said Wednesday that there should be no place in the Democratic Party for political candidates who have a history of sexual harassment and called on Sen. Michael Padilla to step down.
Padilla has long denied accusations in two prior federal lawsuits of harassing women while helping the city of Albuquerque overhaul a problem-plagued emergency call center in 2006. The city ended up settling claims of a sexually hostile work environment stemming from Padilla’s six-week tenure as a supervisor.
Groups urging Padilla to end his bid for lieutenant governor also include the Young Democrats of New Mexico and Bernalillo County Young Democrats. Gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has urged Padilla to end his campaign that could pair them together on the Democratic ticket in 2018.
New Mexico lawmakers are likely to go through sexual harassment prevention training for the first time in more than a decade, as statehouses nationwide grapple with allegations of sexual misconduct.
Senate majority leader Peter Wirth of Santa Fe says the Legislature’s harassment policy covering sexual misconduct is under review.
He is suggesting training for lawmakers before the Legislature convenes in January.
The New Mexico Legislature’s two-page “no harassment policy” was adopted in 2008 and applies to misconduct by lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists, vendors and others. Initial investigations are handled internally by legislative agency directors or chief clerks.
Democratic State Sen. Michael Padilla has come under renewed scrutiny for decade-old accusations of harassment against women in a prior job as he campaigns for lieutenant governor.