SALEM — The intense national focus on sexual misconduct came to Oregon’s capital this week, when lawmakers were given a training session on harassment and how to report it.
For the first time, the training was offered to executive branch employees, lobbyists and others who work in the Capitol, said Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. Previously, it was required for legislators and legislative employees.
To accommodate the crowd, the training was conducted Tuesday inside the main ballroom of the Salem Convention Center. The training was provided by lawyers for the Legislature and its director of human resources.
Sen. Arnie Roblan, a Democrat from the coastal city of Coos Bay, said through a spokeswoman that “these trainings are critical, especially for new members and/or staff.”
Oregon is one of at least 27 states that requires lawmakers from both chambers in legislatures to undergo sexual harassment training. Oregon’s policy on sexual harassment is highlighted by the National Conference of State Legislatures as an example of a strong one, along with those of Alabama, Hawaii, Colorado and Maryland. A legislative subcommittee in Alaska is looking at Oregon as a model as it considers how to rewrite that state’s guidelines.
“Oregon has a lot of elements that we consider a strong policy should have,” said Jonathan Griffin, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Oregon’s policy describes an informal reporting process, and a formal one.
“An appointing authority or supervisor shall take appropriate action to prevent, promptly correct and report harassment about which the appointing authority or supervisor knew or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should have known,” the policy says.