MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state of Minnesota and Minnesota House Republican leaders have proposed sweeping changes when it comes to handling sexual harassment complaints.
A new House subcommittee has been set up to handle future complaints.
The Minnesota House is also requiring all 134 members to undergo sexual harassment training later this month.
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after a report from Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration that called for an independent office to handle harassment complaints from state employees.
She feels the proposals from the state of Minnesota and the Minnesota House are lacking.
“It’s good that we’re doing something, but it is not enough,” she said.
Maye Quade is concerned about the lack of independent oversight.
“The House policing ourselves is exactly how we ended up in this position, and I don’t think anything is going to change,” she said.
House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin says when it comes to the House subcommittee, independent voices will be heard.
“We are going to have experts come forward, employment law experts, our house experts, our house attorneys and lay out what our current rules and policies are,” she said.
Peppin says any House members who do not go through sex harassment training will be punished.
“Any member that does not go to training within the seven days is going to lose their ability to sit on committees,” she said.
A report by the Dayton administration looking at complaints by employees at state agencies says that in the past six years 135 complaints have been substantiated and that Minnesota taxpayers payed out $700,000 to settle seven cases.
The report recommends that a centralized office is needed to handle complaints.
While this report did not include any complaints involving the Minnesota Legislature, Maye Quade has the same concern about the conclusions.
“I think it’s a good starting point to see where are we, how much money has been going towards this and what can we do better, but again I think an objective task force can take that objective view,” she said.
The Minnesota House proposal does not include the 67 members of the Minnesota Senate.
The Minnesota Senate Majority leader has ordered a review of current sexual harassment policies and all senators and staffers are required to take harassment training.