State Senate Democrat proposes anti-harassment rules change

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota's top Senate Democrat has proposed new legislative rules that would have the nonpartisan legislative staff agency conduct investigations into allegations of harassment.

Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton outlined the change Tuesday to the Joint Legislative Procedure Committee. The panel didn't immediately vote on the proposal.

The new rules would apply to the harassment of legislators, lobbyists, interns, pages and legislative employees by people holding those positions.

The plan would require lawmakers or legislative employees who become aware of harassment to report it to the Legislative Research Council. That agency would investigate complaints under the change.

Sutton says the Legislature's current harassment policy is restrictive, sparse and confusing. He is a Democratic candidate for governor.

The panel on Tuesday did endorse a small change moving a section of rules prohibiting sexual harassment.