CHICAGO – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan outlined a plan to combat sexual harassment in state government Tuesday, passing legislation through a House committee that will require all lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to complete annual harassment training, and announcing the creation of a task force that will study further changes needed to address the problem of workplace harassment in both the public and private sectors.
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace. This is particularly true in our Capitol, a building that belongs to every woman and man in Illinois,” Madigan said. “Legislative changes are a critical step, but far from a final step. Ultimately, eliminating sexual harassment will require cultures to change. That’s why in addition to continuing to work with lawmakers and advocates to create the strongest legislation possible, I am forming a task force which will lead a continuing conversation on this topic, and recommend further changes to combat workplace harassment both in our government and in the private sector.”
Madigan’s Senate Bill 402 expands existing sexual harassment protections in the Capitol and legislative offices by requiring all lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to complete annual sexual harassment training, including specific examples of what constitutes harassment. All lobbyists will be further required to prepare and submit sexual harassment policies, like legislators do currently. Madigan’s bill also empowers state inspectors general and ethics commissions to investigate allegations, and assess fines of up to $5,000 for incidents of harassment. The measure received bipartisan support in the House Personnel & Pensions Committee. Senate President John Cullerton, and Republican leaders Jim Durkin and Bill Brady have come out in favor of Madigan’s bill.
Madigan also announced that he will establish a Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment, to be chaired by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie. Listening to input from all stakeholders, the task force will be charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment in both the public and private sectors, and make actionable recommendations to the General Assembly on changes that will improve reporting of allegations, protect those who report harassment, and prevent sexual discrimination and harassment.
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Springfield, IL 62706
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