IL lawmakers tackle sexual harassment

James Marshall
November 8, 2017

Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, of sexual harassment past year while the two worked on legislation. They found themselves trying to explain the lack of an investigator, particularly when a legislative activist went public with her complaint of sexual harassment against powerful state Sen.

Speaker Madigan's bill also establishes a sexual harassment hotline where people can seek advice on how to proceed with a complaint.

The flurry of activity came as sexual harassment complaints roiled the nation, beginning with allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others this fall and the revival of the #metoo social media campaign among women who have been victims. None of his colleagues approached him, keeping their distance after he was accused of harassment last week, denying the allegations.

Silverstein declined to talk to reporters, saying he needs to discuss the matter with the Inspector General. Second, it requires every constitutional officer, elected official, state employee, registered lobbyist, lobbyist entity and unit of government to adopt a local sexual harassment policy.

But Madigan's plan revealed the vacancy and when Rotheimer, testifying last week in favor of it, publicized alleged incidents in which Silverstein, working with her a year ago on legislation, sent her inappropriate messages and paid her unwanted compliments. The Democrat has resigned his leadership position. She asked why nothing had happened on the complaint she filed in November 2016. Ira Silverstein of Chicago.

Silverstein joined his Senate colleagues in overwhelmingly approving two measures aimed at addressing the sexual harassment scandal, and the House was expected to advance at least one additional measure later in the day. Porter will grapple with 27 ethics complaints that have not been looked into because her position has been vacant for almost three years. The legislation sent to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday would allow Porter to investigate allegations awaiting her arrival in office.

He just doesn't want them to be the part that sits on the state's Legislative Ethics Commission. Several pointed out that the first inspector, former House member and appellate court judge Tom Homer, who occupied the office from 2004 to 2014, described it as "toothless tiger" for the law's inability to hold lawmakers accountable for conflicts of interest and other ethics lapses.

State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, and State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, along with State Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, introduced a series of reforms Tuesday known as House Bill 4151.

Resolutions condemning sexual harassment and setting goals to prevent sexual harassment at the Capitol as well as creation of a sexual assault task force were also passed.

Associated Press writer Sophia Tareen contributed to this report from Chicago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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