Libby’s harassment prevention measure receives unanimous approval

Posted: January 18, 2018 | Senator Libby

AUGUSTA–Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Nate Libby’s proposal to strengthen harassment prevention training at the State House received unanimous support from the Legislature’s Rules Committee on Thursday. The new rule mandates annual in-person harassment training for all lawmakers.

“Recent events across the country have highlighted the need for workplaces of all kinds, including ours,  to do better in the way of harassment prevention training. Harassment takes place in many forms and happens far more often than acceptable,” said Sen. Libby (D-Lewiston). “We need to hold ourselves as lawmakers to the highest standards. We owe it to our employees to ensure that the State House is a safe workplace environment. ”

The current harassment prevention training occurs at the beginning of each two-year term. However, lawmakers are able miss the training by signing a document outlining the legislature’s sexual harassment policy.

Efforts to amend the harassment rules began in October 2017. Sen. Libby worked with Executive Director of the Legislature, Grant T. Pennoyer and Human Resources Director, Jackie Little to prepare the rule change. The proposal previously received unanimous support from the personnel committee late last year.

“To me this isn’t just a women’s issue, it is a men’s issue too,” said Sen. Libby. “It is all of our responsibility to speak up and say we won’t tolerate it at the State House.”

In addition, Sen. Libby has also submitted a more comprehensive bill to extend this training requirement to the executive branch, constitutional offices and lobbyists. The bill must first past through the 10-member Legislative Council and receive bipartisan approval before advancing to a public hearing.

Sen. Libby is also a member of Joint Select Committee on Joint Rules which sets the rules that govern the Legislature and is responsible for the Legislative Code of Ethics.