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Senate Ethics Committee Approves New Sexual Harassment Policy

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The Senate Ethics Committee approved changes to the ethics rules for its chamber. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

The Indiana Senate Ethics Committee unanimously approved the creation of a sexual harassment policy for lawmakers Monday.

Senate rules before now didn’t define sexual harassment. The changes outline what’s considered sexual harassment and how complaints will be investigated.

Ethics Committee Chair Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) says the proposed rules also bar lawmakers from any sexual contact with interns.

“Even if they are consenting adults … that behavior is prohibited,” Brown says.

The policy also ensures investigations are confidential unless the full Senate disciplines a lawmaker. Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) says confidentiality is important – to a point.

“I just don’t want to see us ever cover this up under the rug," Breaux says. "I think it needs to have the ability to see the light of day, if it warrants.”

The full Senate must now vote on the policy. The House makes its own rules.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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