AUGUSTA – A Joint Order to strengthen harassment prevention training at the State House received widespread support in the Maine House today. All but 24 House Republicans voted in support of the measure. The new rule mandates the Legislature to conduct an mandatory annual in-person harassment training for all lawmakers.

Speaker of the House Sara Gideon released the following statement:

“It has become abundantly clear that women have been silently suffering for decades in their places of work. Our State House should be a safe and welcome environment that holds itself to the highest standards of conduct. This joint order is an important part of the conversation that will lead to real change in the way our legislature prevents and responds to sexual harassment. I’m committed to continuing to work to foster safer environments in all workplaces.”

Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden, House chair of the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Rules where the Joint Order originated, released the following statement:

“Our country owes a great deal to the women who have stood up and demanded change. As leaders in our state, legislators must lead by example and hold ourselves to the highest standard. I’m proud to stand in partnership with women, both in the State House and in Maine, to work towards creating a safer state built on unshakeable equality and opportunity for all.”

The full language of the the Joint Order is:

ORDERED, the House concurring, that the Joint Rules be amended by adding Joint Rule 108 to read:
Rule 108. Annual Harassment Training.

Each member must attend in-person training on harassment at the beginning of each regular session. The Presiding Officers must arrange sufficient opportunities for each member to attend this in-person training on harassment. Each member must sign an affidavit stating that the member has attended the in-person training on harassment and must file that form with the office of the Executive Director of the Legislative Council. The Executive Director of the Legislative Council shall provide a report to the Presiding Officers listing the members who have not attended the required training and submitted the affidavit.