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New sexual harassment policies recommended at state capitol

Missouri’s House speaker is recommending mandatory sexual-harassment training each year for members and staff in response to allegations that lawmakers harassed and exchanged sexual texts with interns.

Speaker Todd Richardson said Friday he hopes training and other proposed changes will improve the Capitol work environment.

Former House Speaker John Diehl stepped down in May after admitting to exchanging sexual text messages with a Capitol intern. Former Sen. Paul LeVota resigned in August after interns accused him of sexual harassment. LeVota has denied the allegations.

Richardson said he also wants to ban all romantic relationships between House members, staff and interns. He recommends requiring an outside investigation for any sexual harassment complaints involving representatives.

The proposed policy changes will go to a House committee for review and a public hearing.

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