While South Dakota’s Republican leadership wallows in denial, other state legislatures are taking concrete action in response to allegations of sexual misconduct. Republican leaders in Iowa are creating a new human resources manager position to handle sexual harassment complaints. Elsewhere:
- In California, its state Senate has hired outside investigators to look into complaints of widespread harassment.
- In Rhode Island, the House speaker has said there will be sexual harassment training for the General Assembly, after a lawmaker accused another lawmaker of seeking sexual favors in exchange for bills to advance.
- In Massachusetts, the House speaker has ordered a review of the Legislature’s sexual harassment policies amid allegations of sexual misconduct by legislators or staff [Barbara Rodriguez, “Iowa Legislature Harassment Complaints Will Be Dealt with by New HR Manager,” AP via Des Moines Register, 2017.11.09].
South Dakota’s budget outlook is tight, but not so tight that Senator Ryan Maher can’t signal more funding coming for health care providers. Perhaps Maher and his fellow Republicans can find a few dollars (or even a budget-neutral solution) that would follow Iowa’s lead in moving responsibility for sexual harassment investigations away from the political leadership and toward a less victim-intimidating, more objective agency.