BOISE, Idaho — A northern Idaho lawmaker who is trying to become elected as the state’s lieutenant governor said Tuesday he apologized to seven fellow legislators for making an inappropriate comment during an anti-sexual harassment training this month.
“I made a comment that might have offended some people and so I apologized to those sitting around me,” said state Sen. Bob Nonini, a Republican from Coeur d’Alene.
He did not provide details of his comment except to say it was a remark about a Facebook posting made on Jan. 9 and that he was apologizing to people he said may have heard it.
All 105 of Idaho’s lawmakers were required to attend the Legislature’s two-hour “Respectful Workplace Training” — which focused on appropriate workplace behavior and how to report a complaint against a lawmaker.
The event was also open to lobbyists, staffers and reporters, who were encouraged to join by House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill.
State lawmakers typically undergo some sort of ethical or civic training every two years in Idaho. This was the first time in recent history, however, that the Idaho Legislature specifically addressed workplace harassment.
During the training, representatives from the Idaho Division of Human Resources and the attorney general’s office emphasized that an individual’s intent with a comment does not matter as much as how it is perceived by people who hear the comment.
The training followed a letter submitted by 14 female state lawmakers last year who asked Bedke and Hill for better anti-harassment training inside the Idaho Capitol.
Nonini is a three term state senator. He is currently running for the open lieutenant governor seat in the upcoming May primary election against Republicans Sen. Marv Hagedorn, Rep. Kelley Packer, former Idaho Republican Party Chairman Stephen Yates, Idaho Falls businesswoman Janice McGeachin, HyDee Liebelt, Steve Pankey and Ocean Risley. No Democrats have filed to run for the seat.
The number two statewide seat has attracted a wide range of candidates ever since Lt. Gov. Brad Little announced he would run governor.