Democrats say Sen. Randy Baumgardner expulsion measure could be discussed Monday

Democrats say Sen. Randy Baumgardner expulsion measure could be discussed Monday
Posted at 12:51 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-02 19:04:04-04

DENVER – Democrats said Monday morning that it’s possible the Colorado Senate will move forward this afternoon with a measure to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner from the chamber over sexual harassment claims.

The Senate went in recess around noon Monday, and Senate Democrats said it was scheduled to reconvene at 4 p.m. for unknown reasons. By later in the day, the hearing was expected to begin around 5:30 p.m.

A spokesman for Senate Republicans, who are in the majority in the Senate, did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether the expulsion measure would be introduced.

Democrats have been calling on Senate President Kevin Grantham to officially introduce their measure aimed at expelling Baumgardner since they filed the measure mid-February after a formal complaint made against the Hot Sulphur Springs Republican was found to be credible.

A legislative aide had accused Baumgardner of grabbing and slapping her buttocks on four different occasions during the 2016 session. The outside investigators, the Employer’s Council, found Baumgardner “more likely than not” committed the behavior, and allegedly found he made other unwanted comments.

Baumgardner said he and Senate President Kevin Grantham had agreed that Baumgardner should step down as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and take sensitivity training, but a letter from Grantham and Majority Leader Chris Holbert said they were “concerned by the inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest, and inconsistencies” they said they saw in the outside investigation report.

Baumgardner echoed similar sentiments, and continued to deny the allegations despite the outside investigation’s report.

“I want to stress something at this point: That the allegations made against me are not true. Despite the findings of the investigation, I find it to be flawed, inaccurate, incomplete and biased,” Baumgardner said.

Democrats in the House were joined by some Republicans in voting to expel Thornton Democrat Steve Lebsock from the state House in early March over sexual harassment allegations.

But Democrats in the Senate, where they are the minority, have been upset that Grantham has yet to officially introduce the measure aimed at Baumgardner.

Minority Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver stepped down from her post on March 22, citing Senate GOP leadership’s handling of the Baumgardner case.

"To see my colleague have to go through that, through something that is based on lies, makes it impossible for me to meet the leadership of the Republican caucus eye-to-eye," Guzman said at the time.

Grantham was also criticized last week when The Denver Post reported that sexual harassment allegations levied against another Republican Senator, Jack Tate of Centennial, whose actions were found to have likely happened by an outside investigator, did not amount to sexual harassment.

State lawmakers are also expected to receive a report about workplace sexual harassment at the Capitol sometime this week, Denver7's news partners at The Denver Post report.

This is a developing news story and will be updated with the latest information.