On Legislative Ethics and Policy Reform–Intern Dress Code is NOT the Issue

In May 2015 Rep. Kendrick was appointed as one of two Democrats to a House “Working Group” on legislative intern policies.   [See St. Louis Public Radio article for details.]

With no meetings of the working group held or scheduled, Kendrick took the initiative to consult over the summer with interns and former interns, university officials responsible for interns, Title IX specialists, and attorneys, prior to drafting revisions and additions to both the House Member Handbook and Intern Handbook.

[See Rep. Kendrick’s suggested additions to House Member Handbook.]

[See Rep. Kendrick’s suggested additions and revisions to Intern Handbook.]

Kendrick submitted his recommendations to all members of the working group on July 24 and to the press on August 15.  Rep. Kevin Engler, chair of the working group, released his General Framework for Restructuring Legislative Internships on August 17, to which Kendrick responded on August 18 by integrating his recommendations within Engler’s framework, while criticizing the focus of the framework:

As you are aware, I submitted my detailed policy recommendations to you and
other Representatives appointed to the Working Group on July 24th. I am
concerned that the focus of your framework addresses details of the intern
experience without addressing the power differential between House members,
staff, and interns. The Workplace Relationship Policy, outlined in the attached
document, speaks directly to this concern.

 

For clarity, I have repeated my recommendations within the context of your
stated framework.

 

The primary responsibility for ethical conduct lies first and foremost with
Members of the House. We should never infer that the problem––and therefore
its remedies––lies with the student interns. My recommendations reflect our
responsibility as House Members to create a comprehensive Ethical Code by
which we conduct ourselves and police our own behavior and that of our
colleagues. The reputation of the House depends on it.

Read Rep. Kendrick’s response to the Engler Frameworks here.