Holcomb signs lawmaker sexual harassment bill

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new law Thursday requiring Indiana lawmakers to complete at least one hour of training a year intended to prevent sexual harassment.

The Republican governor’s signature comes after a wave of sexual misconduct allegations hit powerful men in public office, Hollywood and the news media.

Holcomb said he is using the occasion to also beef up sexual harassment policies that apply to agency managers, as well as rank-and-file government workers. The state’s judicial branch has also updated its policies.

“In light of the many recent, high-profile sexual and workplace harassment cases, it makes sense for all branches of government to take a look at their own policies,” Holcomb said. “There’s zero room for harassment of any kind in Indiana’s state government workplaces.”

Legislative employees have long worked under a clearly outlined sexual harassment policy. But until Holcomb signed the bill, lawmakers were only obligated to act with “high moral and ethical standards.”

In addition to mandatory training for lawmakers, Statehouse leaders will be required by the law to develop a clear anti-harassment policy by late November that applies to legislators.

Under the changes Holcomb made to the executive branch, agency heads will have to complete annual training workshops focused on preventing sexual harassment and incivility.

State managers and supervisors at all levels will be required to participate in an annual anti-harassment training program that will launch this summer.

Employees will have to complete anti-harassment computer training that will begin in May.