Do you believe that the federal government holds a monopoly on information about how to prevent people from sexually harassing their colleagues in the workplace?

The notion seems farfetched, to be sure.

Yet it’s a reasonable conclusion to reach based on what happened at the state Capitol in Salem this week — or rather, what didn’t happen.

Lawmakers were supposed to attend a training session Tuesday on preventing harassment. It was canceled because the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was to put on the session, is affected by the partial federal government shutdown that started Dec. 22.

The subject has a particular resonance in Salem right now. A report issued earlier this month by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries concluded that legislative leaders haven’t done enough to deal with complaints about sexual harassment in the Capitol.

It is troubling that lawmakers feel they need to have someone explain to them how to treat their colleagues and employees with respect. But considering the recent report, and the resignation last year of state Sen. Jeff Kruse, who was accused of harassing a fellow legislator, the training is justifiable.

What’s not is the idea that until the federal shutdown ends, legislators will have to just wait.

Senate President Peter Courtney said this week that the training will be rescheduled “as soon as the federal government is back up and running.”

And to emphasize how important he thinks the training is, Courtney also vowed to cancel committee meetings and floor sessions to ensure it happens.

Fine, but there’s no reason to wait on the feds.

The Cascade Employers Association offers harassment prevention training, and that outfit is right there in Salem.

Quite possibly such resources also are available online.

- — Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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