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Lawmakers to draft three bills addressing sexual harassment and assault claims at Wyoming Military Department

Nine politicians sit behind a long lectern with Christmas ribbons on them. A long table is in front of them
Kamila Kudelska
Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Meeting, November 29, 2021 PM

The Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee of the Wyoming Legislature is drafting three bills intended to address sexual harassment and assault reporting concerns in the Wyoming Military Department.

Following testimony at Monday's, Nov. 29, committee meeting from the Wyoming Military Department Adjutant General Gregory Porter, Committee Co-Chairman Don Burkhart of Rawlins suggested legislation.

"I'm trying to distill this to what I think will make the biggest impact, the quickest, … one I've heard is to make the annual report that we've seen to be provided annually," said Burkhart.

In addition, Burkhart suggested allowing local law enforcement to exchange information with the military department to catch bad actors and conduct an external oversight of the military department. He also urged the governor to conduct his own external review of the previous cases that have gone to court.

"[External oversight] that may not be popular with the military department to have an outside agency look over them. But that would be the best bang for the buck I think at this time," said Burkhart.

Porter said the department doesn't have a culture that enables sexual harassment or sexual assault, nor is there a systemic issue, but he did admit there are bad actors and a culture of inappropriate comments and jokes.

Recent reporting by Wyoming Public Media and WyoFilehas highlighted otherwise. The committee plans to meet and discuss possible legislation on Jan. 11.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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