Upcoming session may see more sexual harassment training for state lawmakers

Legislative leaders say there's a developing discussion about having more in-depth training on sexual harassment for state lawmakers this upcoming session given the number of incidents making headlines around the country. (KBOI photo).

Legislative leaders at Idaho Statehouse say they're getting requests from lawmakers for more specialized training in sexual harassment for the upcoming session given the number of cases making headlines around the country.

It seems every day there's a new story about sexual harassment, even assault, in the powerful worlds of media, entertainment and politics.

Sen. Chuck Winder is assistant majority leader and says there's a general feeling the legislature needs to update its sexual harrassment training in light of these events.

"That's one of the things we're considering and figuring out," Winder said. "Just how to work it into the session's schedule."

Sexual harassment is a routine part of a newly elected lawmaker's orientation but Winder suspects more is needed on a wider level.

"I think we probably would be putting our head in the sand if we didn't recognize that interactions sometimes are questionable," he said.

House minority leader Mat Erpleding couldn't agree more.

"The majority of my caucus is female," Erpelding said. "And they very much value equal respect in the work place. I know all of us support work place harassment training. It's not a partisan issue, not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It's about treating women equally in the work place."

The legislature convenes on January 8 and it's a good bet this issue will only have gained in intensity by then.

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