Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today sent the first Annual Report for the state’s Legal Expense Fund (LEF) to the General Assembly. The Report analyzes LEF expenditures and liabilities over the 2017 calendar year.
In 2017, Attorney General Hawley, for the first time in Missouri history, began releasing monthly reports to the general public detailing payments made from the LEF. The Office also began releasing estimates of total potential liability against the LEF. These estimates give the public and the General Assembly notice of the scope of the liability the State faces.
Today’s Annual Report points out the need to address deeper issues driving the State’s litigation exposure. The scale of claims filed under the Missouri Human Rights Act demonstrates that significant problems of discrimination and retaliation have existed in some parts of state government.
The Attorney General proposed the following steps for consideration:
- State employees need an independent and anonymous channel for reporting discrimination and harassment.
- The Attorney General’s Office will conduct a comprehensive review of existing discrimination and harassment policies across state government—looking at other states and the federal government.
- It is essential that those responsible for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation be held accountable. Individuals who engage in misconduct should face concrete and swift employment consequences for doing so. And agencies must commit to eliminating cultures of harassment.
“Strategic decisions must always be made in litigation, and my Office strives to protect the interests of the Missouri taxpayer,” Hawley said. “But we also need to initiate a deeper conversation about the culture of state government in Missouri. We must eradicate behavior that creates a negative work environment and prompts costly litigation. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to address these issues in the coming year.”
A full copy of the report is attached and online.