Governor Jeff Colyer combating sexual harassment at the Statehouse

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In his first week in office, the state's new governor is taking a stance against sexual harassment in the Capitol.

Governor Jeff Colyer meant business when he told Kansans he wanted to build an atmosphere of respect. With that, he's combating sexual harassment in the statehouse.

He said, “Every employee under the executive branch, every intern, everyone knows and will receive will receive sexual harassment training.”

The issue has been on the forefront since last fall when former statehouse staffer Abbie Hodgson said she witnessed a wide range of sexual harassment while working in the statehouse in Topeka. Hodgson was the former Chief of Staff for former House Democratic leader Rep. Tom Burroughs from 2014 to 2016.

She says, “I was overwhelmed of the frequency, of which I saw and heard of inappropriate behavior happening in the Capitol and quite frankly, I think we need to hold our legislators accountable for their behavior."

That training will be required to be completed before the end of this fiscal year -- and it will be required every year after. It's a measure that the Women's Foundation strongly advocated for. Women’s Foundation President and CEO Wendy Doyle said, “What we've seen today is what we would consider a strong leadership role in the country to implement this for the executive branch employees, mandatory training.”

Kansas is one of just a handful of states requiring this kind of training for every single employee of the executive branch.

Colyer said, “No one should feel uncomfortable, everyone should feel safe in our environment “

This order also requires every state agency to review its sexual harassment policies every three years, or sooner if there is an issue that comes up.

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