A proposed policy for House interns and proposed changes to the chamber’s sexual harassment policy will be the subjects of a public hearing Thursday at the State Capitol.
The hearing by the House Administration and Accounts Committee is at noon and can be seen live at Missourinet.com.
A group of Representatives began work in May on an intern policy after former House Speaker John Diehl, Junior, admitted to swapping sexually suggestive texts with a college intern and resigned. The product of that work includes the proposed changes to the harassment policy.
Committee chairman, Representative Mike Leara (R-St. Louis) told Missourinet any major changes to the proposal would have to be considered by his party’s leadership, but he hopes to have it approved by Thanksgiving.
“I expect this to be final this week, although I am keeping the idea open that it would take another committee hearing. I have no intention of rushing this through,” said Leara. “I think we have a good policy here in front of us, but I am absolutely open to changes and tweaks.”
Despite the attention to those policies this summer Leara says he hasn’t heard from any groups wishing to testify.
“I know that the speaker’s office has had discussions with women’s foundation and if they wish to appear, or anyone else, I plan to give as much time as we need to the issue,” said Leara.
Lawmakers in both parties have told Missourinet they are pleased with the proposed policy.
“It took some time. We wanted to do this what we believed properly and address all the issues,” said Leara. “I think an intern ombudsman is entirely appropriate and I think that’s a wonderful move here. The prohibition of member fraternization with interns and employees is an excellent addition to our policy, so I think we have some excellent policy changes coming forward that I would anticipate will be fully adopted.”
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