From the Morning Memo:

State lawmakers in interviews on Thursday backed holding more public hearings on sexual harassment in order to develop broader legislation that could effect more industries in the state.

“As we all know, this is an epidemic and we should be hearing from many different industries, so we should be hearing from fast food workers and farmers and law firms,” said Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Bronx Democrat.

The Sexual Harassment Working Group, a panel of former legislative aides who are victims and survivors of harassment and assault while working in state government, have called for at least two more hearings in Albany and in New York City following last month’s hearing that focused largely on the workplace culture of the Legislature.

It was the first time the state Legislature had held a hearing on the issue in more than 20 years.

“We’ve had many different hearings for transportation and each new hearing gives us new information for how we can solve the funding gap or fix existing systems. It’s the same thing with sexual harassment,” Biaggi said.

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou also backed more hearings, saying in an interview that more stories could be told.

“The one thing that is very obvious after the sexual harassment hearing that we held, so many folks were writing in to me and telling us that their story hadn’t been told,” she said. “There were so many instances that they weren’t able to talk about and they wanted to know that there were some changes and movement happening.”

Lawmakers introduced legislation after the February hearing in Albany that would drop the “severe and pervasive” standard in sexual harassment cases, seen by employment lawyers and survivors as a roadblock to bringing successful cases.

A larger package of measures is also being considered as well as an update on sexual harassment policy in the Legislature itself, Biaggi said.

“How do we create systems that withstand the test of time, but remain malleable so that as we learn information so that the people inside of those systems are protected, no matter who is in charge?” Biaggi said.