BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The task force charged with creating uniform sexual harassment policy for all government agencies completed its work Thursday, Mar. 21.
Rep. Barbara Carpenter, D-Baton Rouge, established the committee in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which manifested itself in Louisiana with the resignation of former Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
“This is an opportunity to show that Louisiana can do what it’s supposed to do and it’s a step up,” Carpenter said. “The groundwork has been laid and that’s the most exciting part of it.”
All state agency workers will have to take an hour-long sexual harassment prevention course, which Carpenter says is perhaps the most significant portion of the group’s policy recommendation.
“People sit back and think, ‘Is it necessary to do this? Do we really need it?’ and I think that was the biggest problem,” she said. “But it didn’t last long. Everybody saw the need for it an came on board, which is wonderful.”
The task force essentially made its final recommendation Thursday, which folded lobbyists and state contractors into portions of the policy. It also ensures that accusers who report harassment taking place at legislative events outside the state capitol are protected.
“Hopefully, we discourage it and show that we can treat people with respect and the dignity they deserve here,” Rep. Greg Miller, R-Norco, said. “We are going to have some very clear provisions as to how we address this.”
A budget council will now take up the full policy for approval and begin work to put a notice of the policy inside state contracts.