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All Ohio Lawmakers To Undergo Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training

Ann Sanner
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger

All Ohio state lawmakers must receive sexual harassment training following a wave of the sexual misconduct scandals that swept the nation and forced resignations in both chambers of Ohio's state Legislature.

Senate president Larry Obhof, a Republican, imposed the requirement on all senators and staff members in October, after then-state Sen. Cliff Hite resigned amid allegations that the Republican legislator had spoken and acted inappropriately toward a female state worker. And Mike Premo, chief of staff for Senate Democrats, resigned in Novemberover unspecified "inappropriate conduct."

In early January, GOP House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger informed representatives and staff of new mandatory sexual harassment training requirements. Republican Rep. Wes Goodman resigned in November after House leaders say he admitted to having a sexual encounter in his state office.

In the past, state lawmakers' primary sexual harassment training occurred during orientation. Long-time lawmakers might not have received it for years.

State Sen. Charleta Tavares wrote an open letter in November criticizing the Ohio General Assembly for fostering a culture that encourages sexual harassment and abuse.

“I am here to tell you that as a legislative body of officials elected to serve our constituents, we are not doing enough,” Tavares wrote.

The conservative Ohio Christian Alliance called for investigations into Goodman's actions and the response of legislative leaders, calling the string of resignations a "moral crisis."