Mara Candelaria Reardon, a leading member of the Democratic caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives, proposed legislation on Friday that would make it easier to remove elected officials from office for wrongdoing.
Candelaria Reardon is one of four women to have accused Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of inappropriately touching them at a party in March.
Mara Candelaria Reardon fights back
Since Candelaria Reardon and three legislative staffers came forward with their allegations in 2018, a special prosecutor was appointed who found the stories of the four women credible. He did not press charges against Hill, however, because he did not believe he could not prove intent in court under current law.
Governor Eric Holcomb and other Republican leaders have called upon Hill to resign, but he has denied all charges and remained in office.
Candelaria Reardon has proposed several bills which would provide an additional way to remove officials such as Hill from office, make it harder for office holders to avoid justice, and tighten up sexual misconduct laws in Indiana generally.
One problem for prosecuting Hill has been the ambiguity of his office in the Indiana Constitution: unlike other statewide office holders, the attorney general is not specifically named and it is unclear if he or she can be impeached.
Candelaria Reardon’s proposed House Bill 1573 would create a officeholder oversight commission with the power to remove statewide officeholders not mentioned in the Constitution – specifically the attorney general and superintendent of public instruction.
“When (the governor and legislative leaders) said if he were our employee, he would be gone, there was no recourse in this weird office that is statewide elected, but with no oversight,” Reardon said in a statement on Friday.
Other laws proposed by Reardon
Another bill proposed by Mara Candelaria Reardon would end the use of public money to pay legal fees or settlements for state officials.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the state government signed a contract with an Indianapolis law firm to defend Hill and the attorney general’s office with $100,000 of public money if sexual misconduct charges were brought forward.
Candelaria Reardon’ has proposed a third bill which would extend Indiana sexual harassment legislation to all employers. Current legislation only applies to companies with six or more employees.
“What we want to emphasize is that people should look upon their workplace as somewhere they can be treated with respect,” Candelaria Reardon said in her Friday statement. “A better work environment leads to better productivity. All people – women and men alike – deserve the right to come to work without fear that they will be harassed or subject to behavior that should not be tolerated in a civilized society.”
Republicans embrace Curtis Hill
While Hill may be facing continued pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike in Indiana, nationally he has received continued support from the Republican establishment.
Hill was elected Vice Chairman of the the Republican Attorneys General Association by his peers in November, a position he still holds today.