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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Sexual Harassment Policy For Montana Legislature Moves Forward

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.

A committee of Montana lawmakers unanimously approved a revised sexual harassment and discrimination policy for the state legislature Thursday. The policy they approved, though, dropped provisions that would make training mandatory for legislators themselves.

Montana House Minority Leader Jenny Eck co-wrote the new rules. She said she didn't believe the council would vote for the measure without dropping the mandatory training requirement.

"If that was the piece that was gonna hold it back, it just wasn’t worth it to die on that sword," Eck said.

The new policy retained a provision that makes training mandatory for legislature staffers. It also lays out specific rules, guidelines and protocol for how to deal with misconduct.

"I think one of the barriers to people reporting right now from my understanding is not knowing what to expect, you know?" Eck said. "If I come forward and say this happened to me, then what?"

The policy comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and sexual misconduct allegations against lawmakers across the country.

The policy will become official if approved by the rules committee in November and the full legislature in January.