Oregon works to limit use of “hush money” payments

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers want to ban the use of “hush money” payments as part of an ongoing response to a sexual harassment scandal that’s dogged the Legislature’s top leaders.

The bill prohibits public officials and candidates from using taxpayer dollars or campaign funds to pay for nondisclosure agreements regarding workplace harassment.

The move comes after a damning report from the Bureau of Labor and Industries that found statehouse leaders didn’t do enough to address allegations of sexual harassment by a state senator who since resigned. Senate President Peter Courtney confirmed last week that the Legislature is working out the final details of a settlement.

Sen. Sara Gelser is the sponsor of the bill. The Corvallis Democrat said in a Facebook post that people “shouldn’t be bullied into staying silent.”