Silence lifts in state houses as harassment scandals bring swift penalties

This month, the speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Jeff Hoover, was reported to have secretly settled with a staff member over claims of sexual harassment. The Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and eight of Mr. Hoover’s fellow Republicans in the House demanded his resignation. Last week, Mr. Hoover stepped down as speaker, though he remained in his House seat. Three other Republican lawmakers — who were also named in the Oct. 25 settlement, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported — were removed from their committee leadership posts pending an investigation.

The president of the Florida Senate ordered an independent investigation and took a powerful chairmanship post from State Senator Jack Latvala, a fellow Republican, who last week was accused of inappropriately touching or making derogatory comments by several women who work at the State Capitol.

On Wednesday, MinnPost, an online news site, reported that several women had described Minnesota State Senator Dan Schoen, a Democrat, making unwanted advances or even grabbing them, prompting immediate calls for his resignation from his fellow lawmakers, including the Senate minority leader and Gov. Mark Dayton, both Democrats. (Mr. Schoen, in a statement, said the allegations were “either completely false or have been taken far out of context.”)