Bill calling for sex harassment training for lobbyists leads to big debate

Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 21:11:01-05

SALT LAKE CITY — State legislators tell Fox 13 a bill requiring sexual harassment training for lobbyists will be resurrected when the general legislative session begins in January, despite a loss in the Interim Government Operations Committee during their November interim session.

The debate in committee sparked a debate about the issue that has taken center stage in an unprecedented national conversation sparked by allegations against major figures in entertainment and politics.

In particular, state legislators are concerned with the working environment for the college interns who work full time for lawmakers during the session.

"Concerns have been raised in the past about treatment of interns, and I think that's something we're trying to address right now," said Representative Angela Romero, a Democrat from Salt Lake City.

Among those opposing the bill, Representative Brian Greene, a Republican from Pleasant Grove, called the bill "paternalistic," saying lobbyists should already know how to act using common sense.

"Anyone that has risen to the level of adulthood in this society knows what's appropriate and what isn't," said Greene.

The bill was suggested by lawyers from the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, saying it would make the workplace safer and protect the state from liability.

House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, a Republican from Davis County, supports the bill, leading other legislators to expect it to have more success in the general session. ​