SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After more than 150 women working in and around the state Capitol went public with allegations that misogynistic and predatory behavior is pervasive in Illinois politics, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, announced her support for two new measures to combat sexual harassment and change the culture that allows it to happen.
“My heart goes out to the hundreds of Illinois women in politics who are bravely coming forward to share their stories, and the countless others who have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment but do not feel comfortable speaking publicly because they fear they will be blamed or subject to professional retaliation,” Scherer said. “To that end, we have to demand professionalism from men in power. The unwanted touches, the inappropriate comments—this kind of behavior is intolerable.”
Scherer is backing Senate Bill 402, which requires all legislators, staff and lobbyists to complete yearly sexual harassment training. Additionally, under the legislation, lobbyists will be required to submit and enforce their own sexual harassment policies, which all legislators do currently.
Scherer is also a co-sponsor of House Joint Resolution 83, which resolves to change the culture that promotes harassment in the Capitol.
“It’s shameful and unacceptable that sexual harassment is such a widespread problem in Illinois politics,” Scherer said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues to change the culture that breeds abusive, aggressive behavior, and to ensure that women are respected and empowered in this environment.”