Iowa Senate updates its harassment policies

State paid $1.75 million in harassment lawsuit in 2017.

Posted: Apr. 17, 2018 5:02 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate have updated employee policies and ethics rules to better address allegations of sexual misconduct and other harassment within their half of the state Capitol.

The Republican-controlled chamber held last-minute procedural votes Tuesday amid the expected final days of the legislative session.

The changes are a culmination of growing public scrutiny over how the Iowa Capitol, particularly Senate Republicans, should handle such allegations. Last year, the state agreed to pay $1.75 million to a former Senate GOP staffer who says she was fired after reporting misconduct in the office that included the use of sexually explicit language.

The chamber's updated employee handbook expands the process for how people who work in and around the Senate can report misconduct. Democrats and Republicans say the changes add clarity.

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