New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced a plan today for lobbyists to take sexual harassment training before each session of the New Mexico Legislature.
“Sexual harassment in any form is never acceptable,” Toulouse Oliver said in emailed statement to reporters. “This is just a first step, but it is my hope that by giving lobbyists the opportunity to enroll in sexual harassment training programs, we will be able to prevent some instances of misconduct from happening in the first place.”
The current lobbyist registration forms will be amended to include a checkbox for lobbyists to confirm they have taken the training. Those forms will be searchable and online.
The training would be voluntary, but Toulouse Oliver hopes it could someday be mandatory. She’s planning to ask state legislators to encourage lobbyists to enroll in the training, and will also begin advocating for a bill that would give the Secretary of State’s Office the authority to require the training. A press release from her office also noted that she’s working with the legislative branch to offer state legislators similar training.
According to Communications Director Joey Keefe, the Secretary of State’s Office is also compiling educational materials for lobbyists, legislators and staff to post on their website. The hope is to help people understand what sexual harassment is and how to prevent it.
“Given recent reports on alleged sexual misconduct in state legislatures like Florida and Kentucky, among others, we feel it is necessary to begin taking proactive steps to ensure we are adequately addressing these types of situations and providing useful information should they arise,” Keefe said.