The Illinois General Assembly has made great strides in improving the way it addresses sexual harassment complaints. Reform for Illinois’ initiative, Senate Bill 1426, builds on that progress by increasing the transparency, independence, and fairness of investigations and the reporting process.
Senate Bill 1426 makes the following important changes:
An independent and fair process of handling sexual harassment complaints is essential to public confidence and to ensure that everyone can participate equally in state government. These changes benefit victims of harassment, the public, and members whose constituents want to see the legislature take proactive steps to address this important issue.
- Increases transparency by requiring that members of the public serve on the Legislative Ethics Commission alongside legislators. Under current law, the appointment of non-legislative members of the public is optional.
- Increases the independence of the Legislative Inspector General by giving the office the same
ability to subpoena documents and witnesses as the Executive Inspector General, i.e. without prior approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission.
- Allows the Legislative Inspector General to publish summary reports in cases where it finds reasonable cause that a violation by a member of the legislature has occurred.
- Increases fairness by ensuring that all investigations receive equal time even if a complainant takes longer to come forward than one who reports immediately. The bill changes the statute of limitations so it begins to run on the date an investigation is initiated, instead of beginning on the date of the last instance of alleged wrongdoing.
Read SB1426 and see it’s progress here.