Bill on sexual harassment legal standard stalls in Senate

State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point.
State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, said she will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Al Franken.
Brian Bakst | MPR News 2017

Legislation to broaden the legal definition of sexual harassment has stalled in the Minnesota Senate with time running short in the session.

The bill would eliminate the "severe and pervasive" standard for cases of sexual harassment. Those words prevent many cases from moving forward. The House passed the bill last week, but its prospects in the Senate appear bleak.

Chief sponsor, Republican state Sen. Karin Housley of St. Marys Point said she heard concerns about the proposal from businesses, schools and local government. Housley said the legislation needs more vetting.

"There are unintended consequences that I wasn't anticipating. So, I would really like to — going forward — hear from all of these folks. Is there enough time? We only have three weeks left," Housley said.

Introduced after the committee deadline, the bill is awaiting action by the Senate judiciary and public safety committee.

Housley is running for the U.S. Senate once held by Al Franken.

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