By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has set a special election date for two seats vacated by lawmakers who faced sexual harassment allegations.

A Democrat and a Republican resigned amid accusations from women at the Capitol, setting the stage for a review of state government harassment policies.

Special elections on Feb. 12 will fill vacancies left by Democratic State Sen. Dan Schoen and Republican Rep. Tony Cornish.

They resigned after female lawmakers, staff and lobbyists accused them of repeated harassment.

Both the House and Senate are holding mandatory sexual harassment training.

The Senate scheduled its training long ago, but the Senate secretary says he’s emphasizing how serious they are taking the issue — even if he doesn’t see widespread violations.

“From all the discussions about what happens in elevators and alcoves and everything else, we’re pretty confident we don’t have a big problem here in the Minnesota Senate,” Cal Ludeman said.

Unlike in Washington, House and Senate leaders in Minnesota say there’s no record going back 15 years of any secret settlements and payouts for sexual harassment complaints.

The governor has ordered a top-to-bottom review of state government sexual harassment policies. Dayton also appointed a task force to establish uniform reporting requirements and consequences, and expand who it might protect.

The Minnesota House scheduled mandatory sexual harassment training in February before the Legislature reconvenes.

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