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Sat Jan 14, 2017, 07:01 AM

Lawmakers vote against barring 'sexual contact' with interns

A legislative panel voted down a proposed rule change Wednesday that would have explicitly prevented them from engaging in sexual contact with legislative interns and pages.

The measure's primary sponsor Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, told the Joint Committee on Legislative Procedure that specific language was necessary to prevent lawmakers from engaging in inappropriate situations, while opponents said lawmakers are already barred from such behavior under existing rules.

Nelson said state lawmakers have previously engaged in instances of sexual harassment and sexual contact involving interns and high school pages, with at least one facing charges in 2007 for allegedly groping a legislative page.

"The facts are, this body went through a very public and ugly trial about a decade ago. There's been events in history that indicate these rules should have been put in stone and they haven't," Nelson said. "This is a rule we brought forth to address this so that there is no gray area."

Read more: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/11/lawmakers-vote-against-barring-sexual-contatct-interns/96448914/

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