GOP Senators file bill that would repeal sexual harassment train - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GOP Senators file bill that would repeal sexual harassment training for lawmakers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Three Kentucky Senators have filed a bill that would repeal a law requiring sexual and workplace harassment training for General Assembly members.

In addition, Senate Bill 152 would reduce the required ethics training time for lawmakers from three hours to 30 minutes.

The bill, filed Friday by Senators John Schickel, Paul Hornback and Tom Buford, would put to an end the sexual harassment training that began in 2014, in the wake of two harassment scandals involving lawmakers.

Sen. Schickel, R-Boone, said in an interview that all of the training is a "ridiculous" waste of time.

"Everyone is on their laptops or cell phones and not paying attention," he said by phone on Monday. "It's my view, if you don't have manners and know how to treat people, a seminar is not going to teach you how to do it."

And if someone is found guilty of sexual harassment or an ethics violation, the person should be prosecuted, Schickel said. 

In May 2014, a Kentucky ethics commission found former Democratic state representative John Arnold guilty of three counts of ethics violations involving sexual harassment and issued him a reprimand and $3,000 fine.

Three Capitol staffers had accused Arnold of inappropriately grabbing, groping and verbally harassing them over a period of three years.

And State Rep. Will Coursey was accused of retaliating against a woman who had confronted him over his treatment of an intern. He denied the charge.

Asked if getting rid of the training would, at the very least, send a bad message to the public, Schickel said that is the reason no one has spoken up so far.

"Everybody is afraid to say anything because it will look bad," he said. "This is just an exercise in political correctness."

Messages left for the other senators who sponsored the bill last week were not immediately returned.

The ethics seminar is supposed to take place every January. In addition to reducing the training time, a requirement that the legal education ethics class be approved by the Kentucky Bar Association has been removed. 

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