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South Dakota Legislature to hold sexual harassment training

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South Dakota Legislature

All South Dakota legislators and their staff are expected to attend ethics, professionalism and sexual harassment training that will be conducted in January, legislative leaders said Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd said in a statement announcing the training that the Legislature takes the issue of sexual harassment seriously, and it "will not be tolerated."

"I think we're setting the ground for the kind of behavior and professionalism that we expect," Curd told The Associated Press. "I'm certainly expecting everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to educate themselves and continue to ensure that the Legislature conducts itself in a professional manner when it executes the work on behalf of the people who sent us there."

Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton said in the statement South Dakota residents expect and deserve a government that's respectable and honorable. The training is the first step in the right direction to help make sure that there's a culture of integrity and professionalism in the state capital, Sutton said.

An aide to Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in an email that he supports the Legislature's decision to take the step.

The training comes after the Argus Leader and other news outlets reported on women who experienced sexism and harassment related to the male-dominated statehouse. The articles came after a former lawmaker and lobbyist shared stories of harassment and assault.

A state lawmaker who admitted to having sexual contact with two interns also resigned earlier this year.

The upcoming 2018 legislative session begins Jan. 9, and the training is scheduled for Jan. 17.

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