SALEM, OR. –Yesterday, the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 478A. The bill would prohibit campaign and public money from being used to make payments in connection with non-disclosure agreements relating to workplace harassment. SB 478A is sponsored by Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), and Representative Karin Power (D-Milwaukie). It will now move to the Oregon House for consideration.
“For too long, certain individuals in power have been able to display abhorrent behavior, hurt and disrespect other, then use taxpayer or campaign dollars to silence their victims through non-disclosure agreements,” said Knopp. “This legislation puts an end to that and will create a more transparent and just system. The people deserve better from their public servants.”
Congress spent $17 million in settlements from 1997 to 2017, funded through American tax payers. A significant portion of these funds have been used to pay for workplace harassment settlements that have taken place in Congress. SB 478A would prevent such practices in Oregon.
“The idea that hush money is used for political purposes to avoid public accountability for harassment shows how toxic and unaccountable the political culture has become,” said Knopp. “This bill is an important step in correcting that negative culture.”