Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

February 20, 2018

Senate Democrats Unveil the Time’s Up Act, a Legislative Package Combating Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

photo of Senator Looney.

Today, members of the Senate Democratic Caucus declared “time’s up” on sexual harassment and sexual assault, as the Caucus announced a legislative package that includes the largest overhaul in modern history of Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws.

The Senate Democrats’ proposal, known as the Time’s Up Act, reforms Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws and processes to create stronger protections for victims and to increase penalties for offenders by:

  • reforming the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) complaint process
  • strengthening and expands Connecticut’s mandated reporter laws
  • eliminating statutes of limitation for all felony sexual assault crimes
  • increasing financial penalties for offenders
  • providing for injunctive relief and punitive damages
  • eliminating secret settlements
  • strengthening CHRO
  • setting a universal process for investigations of harassment complaints against school administrators, and
  • requiring increased training and education in Connecticut workplaces.

“As a society, we are in the midst of a national reckoning concerning sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “We have seen sexual harassment exposed across all types of industries and have learned the heartbreaking stories of so many victims. The Time’s Up Act represents the largest overhaul in the modern history of Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws.”

“From Larry Nassar and the US Gymnastics Team to Jerry Sandusky and Penn State Football, well-publicized cases of sexual assault have been committed against minors highlighting a system that failed to protect them,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “If your kids are like mine, they spend a lot of time in the care of other adults. Connecticut should conduct a thorough review of and potentially expand its list of mandated reporters of sexual assault committed against minors and enact penalties against those who are mandated reporters and fail to report. From band practice to basketball practice we rely on adults to teach, coach and supervise our kids. We need to be secure in the knowledge that the system is not failing our children.”

“For too long, sexual predators have gone unpunished, or had their crimes kept secret to preserve their reputation, allowing for continued abuses. In Connecticut and throughout our country we are saying that the time has come for abusers to be held accountable for their crimes,” said Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain). “We will no longer allow abusers to go unpunished and victims to be forced into silence. Wealthy, high-profile abusers will no longer be allowed to make settlement agreements that preserve their reputation by prohibiting their victims from disclosing information. This legislative package will modernize Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws to send a strong message that these crimes have no place in our state.”

“Sexual harassment not only impacts people, it impacts businesses and their output,” said Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague). “Increased training in workplaces provides a reasonable solution to combatting these abuses. The long-term impact to the individual is traumatic, creating consequences that are never-ending. The impact to a business is also costly, resulting in an environment of losses of time and output.”

“With the Time’s Up and Me Too movements, we have seen cultural tides in our country are finally changing, and Connecticut must strengthen its stand against sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson). “This year I will be reintroducing legislation to extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases. As we have seen in many of the high-profile sexual assault cases being tried around the country, it often takes years for sexual assault victims to come forward and confront their abusers, and people are coming to understand the unique circumstances of these crimes can keep victims from coming forward right away. Connecticut has one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations in the country, under which sexual abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar and Bill Cosby could have avoided punishment. The time for a change in this law is long overdue.”

“The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities plays a significant role in ensuring that victims of sexual misconduct and discrimination in the workplace have the resources they need to receive justice. However, in some cases, their hands are tied by current legislation,” Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) said. “We need to remove some of these barriers and increase the resources available to CHRO and give them more investigative and enforcement capacity so that it can fulfill its critically important role of protecting Connecticut citizens and guarantee that no case falls through the cracks.”

“Some employees don’t even know the kinds of protections they have when reporting sexual harassment. Oftentimes, women who come forward get punished for making a complaint without knowing they are protected.” Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) said. “This fixes that problem by requiring additional notice and increasing penalties for employers who fail to notify employees of their rights.”

Download a copy of the Senate Democrats’s proposal.