The Senate is taking real steps to address growing concerns regarding sexual harassment.
As allegations emerged regarding Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on Thursday, the Senate unanimously approved legislation instituting mandatory sexual harassment training for Senate members, staff, and interns.
The resolution was co-authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and co-sponsored by both parties. The Office of Compliance or the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment will offer the sexual harassment training, which will also cover discrimination based on race, religion, disability, and other related criteria.
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The training must be completed within 60 days and each office will be “required to submit certification of completed training.” This will also be published on the public Secretary of the Senate website. An anonymous survey to gather information about instances of sexual misconduct is included in the resolution as well.
While the resolution is the right step forward, CNN has noted that it is not law and will only apply to the Senate. Nevertheless, it is remarkable as it serves as the first real step either chamber of Congress has taken to address problems of sexual harassment. Its inclusion of interns is also significant, as they have historically lacked adequate protections and are seen as particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
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Co-author Sen. Klobuchar told CNN that the resolution was simply a “first step,” promising to look next to passing “more comprehensive legislation” that would include the “issue of reporting and the complaints process.”
The House is also taking steps to address sexual harassment. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has ordered a review of sexual harassment training and reporting policies, and the House Administration Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, November 14.