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TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Florida officials, government employees and the lobbyists and contractors who deal with them could be subject to new rules and penalties for sexual harassment.

The House unanimously passed a bill Thursday that requires government agencies to investigate sexual harassment complaints and to protect the alleged victims.

The bill spells out penalties for public officials and employees found to have committed harassment, including fines, termination and removal from office. Lobbyists and contractors who commit sexual harassment could be barred from doing business with the state or lobbying.

But whether it becomes law is another question.

A similar Senate bill has been blocked by a conservative senator who refused to hear the bill in the committee he chairs.

Sen. Lauren Book said she’s working to find another bill to amend to keep the legislation alive.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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