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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Lawmakers To Receive Sexual Harrassment Training In Pierre


State legislative leaders are announcing sexual harassment and code of conduct training for the upcoming legislative session.

The training comes after several stories of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment in Pierre came to light.

The training will center around legislative ethics, professionalism and sexual harassment. All elected legislators are expected to attend the training the afternoon of January 17.

The call for this kind of training comes after a national trend of talking about harassment and abuse found its way to Pierre.

House Majority Lee Qualm was one of several legislators who arranged for the training.

“We just decided it would be good if we had some professional training on sexual harassment, how we act as professionals toward each other,” Qualm says. “Just to help us be better legislators, treat everybody with respect, treat the lobbyists with respect, just so that we’re all acting in a professional manner.”

The training is provided through National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that focuses on individual state legislatures across the country.

The training also comes a session after lawmakers removed a young representative, Matthew Wollmann, from the statehouse, after allegations surfaced about relations with interns.

“I’m sure you’re familiar with what happened with Representative Wollmann last year," Qualm says. "Now, that was from some things that had happened in years previous, and everything went the way it was suppose to work. So I feel very comfortable that we have good rules in place, and they certainly worked the way they were supposed to.”

Lawmakers also perform a rules review at the beginning of each session.

Qualm says he not heard of any changes being made.