ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota Senate is now operating under stricter internal rules meant to combat sexual harassment against its members, staff and other people who have business at the Senate.

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously adopted the update Monday. The House made similar changes last session.

The push for the Legislature to strengthen its internal policies followed allegations that surfaced against two legislators in 2017. They came amid a tide of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful figures in politics, media and entertainment.

GOP Sen. Michelle Benson says the updated policy is clearer and stronger, with mandatory reporting and investigation requirements. She says it sends a strong message that harassment and discrimination are not acceptable in the Senate. She says the next step is training senators on how it works.

“This process was thoughtful and collaborative amongst the two caucuses and non-partisan staff,” Benson, chair the working group and said. “We all came to the table and worked diligently to balance the rights of the accused with justice for the victims. This policy improves trust and accountability in the Senate among our employees, our senators, and the public.”

Among the changes, senators and senate staff will be required to go through non-discrimination and anti-harassment training every two years.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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