Katie Stancombe for www.theindianalawyer.com
Although Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said he hopes to have the General Assembly’s sexual harassment policy finalized by the end of next week, he’s not sure if that’s possible.
“The legal counsel that briefed and worked with both ethics committees said the policy is cutting-edge and goes well beyond what’s required by federal guidelines,” Bosma told reporters Thursday. “We’re comfortable that the four lady legislators that wrote it hit the sweet spot on it and we’ll work through any nuances.”
In March, Gov. Eric Holcomb ceremonially signed a bill that called for strengthening the Indiana General Assembly’s policies against sexual harassment. That came months before four women — a lawmaker and legislative staff members — publicly accused Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill of groping them.
Now, questions remain as to what might happen with the policy behind closed doors — a policy that already has drawn criticism for not going far enough.
House and Senate ethics committees will review specifics of the proposed policy before sending it to both chamber floors for a full vote this session. Authored by Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, House Enrolled Act 1309 requires lawmakers to complete at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training per year.
The Act also mandates the Legislative Council recommend sexual harassment prevention policies, with an additional four lawmakers appointed to the Legislative Council’s Personnel Subcommittee to work with the Legislative Services Agency to formulate the proposed changes. Subcommittee members involved in the development of the proposed policy included Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, and Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis.
Members of the House were informed Thursday that they will be required to attend a mandatory two-hour ethics training on Tuesday. If unable to attend, they will be required to watch the training via video.