In response to the prevailing culture of sexual harassment in politics, State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has successfully passed legislation to confront the issue in the Illinois General Assembly and at the local level.
News reports over the past year revealed that some Congressmen used a federal fund that made payments to persons making allegations of harassment against members of Congress. House Bill 4243 prohibits the use of public funds to create a payout of money to any person connected to allegations of sexual harassment by a member of the Illinois General Assembly.
“There is absolutely zero reason why public funds should be used in any way to settle sexual harassment cases involving politicians," McSweeney said. “However, it has happened at the congressional level. We here in Illinois are taking a proactive approach and making sure taxpayers will not pay to protect legislators who engage in this kind of repugnant behavior.”
House Bill 4242 requires units of local government, school districts, community college districts, or other local taxing bodies to publish information about severance agreements with employees or contractors who have been found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. The legislation was filed in response to news reports that Des Plaines Elementary School District 62 School Board voted to pay then-Superintendent Floyd Williams a severance package of $127,000 after he was accused of sexually harassing employees.
“Taxing bodies should not be able to sweep settlements with government employees guilty of sexual harassment or sexual discrimination under the rug,” McSweeney said. “Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being used, especially in such cases. This legislation shines a spotlight on these severance agreements and holds taxing bodies accountable for their actions.”
The bills passed both the Illinois House and Senate unanimously. They were sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park). HB 4243 now heads to the Governor’s desk for his approval. HB 4242 must return to the House for technical concurrence.