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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Training to Prevent Sexual Harassment

Rotunda inside the Kansas Statehouse (Photo by J. Schafer)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says training for lawmakers, employees and interns is the first step for the Legislature in addressing sexual harassment.  Annual training for legislators, employees, interns and lobbyists was among the recommendations released today (FRI) by the Women's Foundation. The Kansas City, Missouri-based foundation promotes gender equity and reviewed the Legislature's policy against sexual harassment.  The current policy hasn't changed since 1994 and does not require regular training.  It says that legislative employees' complaints about harassment can be brought to supervisors or Legislative Administrative Services.  It also says complaints are to be handled as discreetly as possible.

Wagle said training is a good place to start because education about sexual harassment is important.  Wagle's and fellow legislative leaders were scheduled to review the proposals this (FRI) afternoon.  The Women's Foundation says the existing policy has "significant gaps." The foundation also is calling on the Legislature to have an independent, outside attorney review sexual harassment complaints.  The group's recommendations also call for more female legislative leaders.

The Women's Foundation, which promotes gender equity, is proposing that the Kansas Legislature have an independent, outside attorney review sexual harassment complaints and bar secret settlements.  The organization also says the Legislature needs to create what the group calls a "non-fraternization" policy covering interns, legislative staff, lawmakers and lobbyists and ban gifts to interns. 

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