Legislative leaders must be ready to act

Two Minnesota legislators accused of sexual harassment and misconduct recently agreed that they will resign.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schoen announced his resignation Wednesday, though his attorney raised questions about whether he is guilty as charged of groping a Democratic political candidate.

Rep. Tony Cornish, a Republican, resigned as part of a settlement with a female lobbyist who accused him of pressuring her for sex and forcing her up against a wall in an attempt to kiss her.

Their resignations, for whatever reason, are an important first step to creating a better atmosphere of respect and responsibility at our state Capitol.

The other important step will be for Democratic and Republican leadership to agree that the kind of behavior exhibited by Schoen and Cornish has no place in the Legislature, and that further reports of sexual misconduct will be thoroughly investigated, with real repurcussions for those found guilty.

It came out after Cornish was accused that then-House Speaker Kurt Zellers had been made aware of accusations about Cornish and had warned him not to do it anymore. This kind of wrist-slapping and turning a blind eye to reports of sexual harassment cannot be the way it works.

There may be other reports of past misconduct, and legislative leaders must be prepared to give them full hearings.