The Latest: Female lawmakers wear black at RI Statehouse
Jan. 09, 2018
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Latest on the Rhode Island General Assembly's efforts to address the issue of sexual misconduct (all times local):
Many female lawmakers are wearing black at the Rhode Island Statehouse in solidarity with the Time's Up movement and as a statement against sexual misconduct.
Democratic Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell of Providence came up with the idea and organized it with fellow lawmakers, asking female senators and House members to wear black on Tuesday. Nearly every attendee at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards wore black.
Ranglin-Vassell says the issue of sexual assault is pervasive all over the world. She says they thought would be a good thing to create awareness around the issue.
More than a dozen lawmakers posed for pictures at the House speaker's rostrum after the session started, flexing their muscles like Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female empowerment.
Rhode Island's lawmakers for the first time are being urged to attend sexual harassment training.
The 2.5-hour session scheduled for Wednesday is for state representatives and is being offered after a House member in October said she was told by a more senior lawmaker that sexual favors would allow her bills to go further. The disclosure prompted Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to offer the training.
Lawmakers are not required to attend, but Mattiello's spokesman says they are "strongly encouraged" to do so.
Senators are being offered the training next week. A Senate spokesman says that will also be the first time the Senate offers it.
The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is finalizing a more comprehensive sexual misconduct and harassment policy, which is expected to be finished this month.