Legislators meet in Butte, work to clarify sexual harassment policy

Posted at 8:16 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 22:16:08-04

BUTTE – A bipartisan group of state legislators is in Butte this week to tour the Mining City and also address a policy issue in the Legislature: the development of a clear sexual harassment policy.

“It’s kind of a tough issue because it’s all about sex so nobody wants to talk about it or deal with it so it’s just a sensitive issue and we want to make sure our policy is completely intact and being followed and make sure we’re doing everything we need to be doing to have a great policy,” said Sen. Fred Thomas (R-Stevensville).

While there have been no reports of sexual harassment that have gone public concerning the Montana Legislature, there have been numerous incidents reported in other state legislatures, and Montana lawmakers want to be prepared.

“We’re going to uptick the training, we’re going to make the training on what is sexual harassment, how to report it as part of our orientation in the 2019 session. We’re going to make sure that there’s better documentation of our process so people know where to turn,” said Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte.

The legislators spent the day touring historic locations around the Mining City and they’ll also do that on Thursday. They say they want to take these committee meetings out of Helena so that they can see more of the people and the state they represent.

“Frankly we learn a great deal about Montana and here in Butte we get to see the real mine that employs 300 and some people making a great living and see what goes into that,” Thomas said.

Thomas, who has family ties to Butte, said the committee will take these policy decisions and implement them in the 2019 legislative session.