Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x4 - Kennedy responds - Durkin “fully supports” - Brady agrees to co-sponsor *** Madigan wants law to require sexual harassment training for legislators, staff and lobbyists
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*** UPDATED x4 - Kennedy responds - Durkin “fully supports” - Brady agrees to co-sponsor *** Madigan wants law to require sexual harassment training for legislators, staff and lobbyists

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace. For a number of years, every member of the House has been required to certify that they develop and enforce a sexual harassment policy for their offices and staff. They will continue to do so. However, we can and should do more to ensure no individual is the target of sexual harassment in the Capitol or anywhere else.

“Because harassment thrives in silence, we are continually working to eliminate all forms of harassment from our Statehouse and our legislative offices. With this in mind, we will be advancing legislation that will require everyone—from legislators, to staff, to lobbyists—to complete yearly comprehensive sexual harassment training. We will also be requiring lobbyists develop and submit their own sexual harassment policies, just as legislators currently do.

“I have directed staff to conduct a thorough review of all existing policies related to this issue and to continue identifying further changes that can and should be made.”

This is moving a lot faster than some may have expected.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  From Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady’s office…

Leader Brady would be happy to co-sponsor this bill when it comes to the Senate.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s office…

Leader Durkin believes that harassment of any sort is unacceptable in the House Republican caucus and staff. He fully supports this proposal.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Chris Kennedy…

Thanks to a group of courageous women who gave voice to the experiences of countless women who work in Springfield, legislators are working to make our Statehouse a safe, respectful place for professionals to have the freedom to do their jobs.

During my tenure as Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, the university adopted sexual harassment training for university employees and board members. As governor, I would absolutely sign a law requiring legislators, staff and lobbyists to go through sexual harassment training. In addition, I would require Illinois businesses, small and large, to provide sexual harassment training to employees, similar to measures in California, Connecticut, and Maine.

Our government has a responsibility to do everything in our power to protect all citizens. When women are unsafe, so is our society.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Senate President John Cullerton…

“My goal in this office has been to advocate for professional conduct in the workplace and provide a safe space for victims to speak up and be protected. Discrimination, harassment and intimidation are unacceptable and not tolerated.

“I support the legislation being discussed.”

* And Patty Schuh…

“Governor Rauner mandated a sexual harassment-free workplace for state employees almost two years ago. Executive Order 16-04 — signed by the Governor on Feb. 26, 2016 –directed the creation of the state’s first Code of Personal Conduct. The order derives from the Governor’s strong belief in an ethical, respectful and accountable workplace and from his personal conviction that sexual harassment is unacceptable in all forms. State agency employees also receive required sexual harassment prevention training.”


  1. - Albany Park Patriot - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    This is a good thing for society and for the General Assembly.

  2. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    Good. Hopefully it will include potential repercussions against the bosses, and will not just be them dictating to their staff and employees while they do whatever they please.

  3. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    And Team Rauner??? Why aren’t they weighing in on this subject?

  4. - FReerfill - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    Elected officials should be required to disclose non professional/sexual relationships with lobbyists. Having lobbied an insurance bill on behalf of my company where the other side was represented by a lobbyist having an affair with a key senator, who took a strong interest in defeating my bill, it became clear that this was unfair and unethical. Additionally, the legislative inspector general’s office should provide a website so people know who to contact.

  5. - I ride motorcycles - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    It’s still all Madigan’s fault.

  6. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:39 pm:

    The Weinstein effect

  7. - Montrose - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    This is a good start. It would be great if there was a joint statement from all four leaders about the tangible things they will do in their respective caucuses to address harassment above and beyond training.

  8. - great idea - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    These are the leaders of our state it’s time they act like it.

  9. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    @Anon221, I wouldn’t look to him for leadership on this issue. Rauner thinks it’s OK to try to hug a woman journalist in an elevator while she’s doing her job.

  10. - PJ - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Before anyone gets on here hemming about how this won’t do anything, please understand that the purpose is not to instruct people that rape is wrong.

    There’s a lot of behaviors that powerful men, especially older powerful men, consider “playful” while the other person considers it harassment. This isn’t all simple, black and white stuff. There would be people at the capitol who would be surprised to hear that putting your hand on a woman’s back and saying she looks hot today is harassment. That’s what these trainings are good for.

    That, and scaring people who do know they’re doing wrong into understanding that more people are paying attention now.

  11. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    Reality Check- Really not expecting him (or them) to do so. That’s why the three ??? following my question. ;)

  12. - Chris Widger - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    ==Rauner thinks it’s OK to try to hug a woman journalist in an elevator while she’s doing her job.==

    He didn’t try to hug her, he asked to hug her. That was probably a weird thing to do, but the distinction matters, right? Let’s try to say things that are true and not things that are untrue, lest all of our grandparents become immigrants.

  13. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    Spin it however you like, from this vantage Rauner’s conduct was harassment of a kind to which a man in the same professional setting would never be subjected.

  14. - GOP Extremist - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    I received mandatory sexual harassment trianing over 20 years ago!! Thanks a lot Justice Thomas. We just called him Clarence back then.

  15. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:10 pm:

    ===The Weinstein effect===

    Lol, TRed, they couldn’t really call it the Trump effect, could they?

    And I don’t care what you call it, I’m just glad there is a name for when a powerful man gets punished and publicly shamed for decades of sexual harassment.

  16. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    LOL. Asking to hug someone is not part of trying to hug someone? OK. Not trying to hug someone is neither asking nor doing it.

    Yeah, that was “probably a weird thing to do” and, yeah, the “distinction matters” when it’s the distinction between a person with great power making such an utterly inappropriate request to someone with relatively little power.

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    This might be good for some more retirements. Let’s see who cracks first

  18. - Chris Widger - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    Alright, asking to hug someone is exactly the same as trying to hug someone. Awesome. This is a good comment section. Perfidy.

  19. - dbk - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    –It would be great if there was a joint statement from all four leaders …–

    Yep, this needs to be issued ASAP, and they need to follow up on it, forcefully.

  20. - btw - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    ….executive branch agencies already do this preventative training

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    Train’s moving fast.

    If nothing else, no one will be able to play dumb and say “they didn’t know.”

  22. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:47 pm:

    This seems like a good step, but the training is mostly lip service. No one - and I mean no one - can claim to be ignorant as to what harassment entails. The issue is clear - there are no repercussions and legislators feel like they can act with impunity. There needs to be a process established for complaints, a real investigation, and consequences.

  23. - Southside Markie - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    Getting in front of the issue is the smart move on more than just the obvious level. It defuses the issue before someone starts to name names.

  24. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    anon, claiming ignorance is the first line of defense of the harasser — “I was just kidding, can’t you take a joke?”

    This helps remove that. It’s an important first step forward.

  25. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    in this case, I’m solidly #metoo.

  26. - HOD - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    ==- Anon - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:47 pm:

    This seems like a good step, but the training is mostly lip service. No one - and I mean no one - can claim to be ignorant as to what harassment entails. The issue is clear - there are no repercussions and legislators feel like they can act with impunity. There needs to be a process established for complaints, a real investigation, and consequences. ==

    I don’t think it’s as crystal clear as you think. Some people think playful banter is ok, whereas others view it as creating a hostile working environment. It requires knowing your audience, and around here, many people simply don’t stop to think before they speak or act.

  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===I don’t think it’s as crystal clear as you think===


  28. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 4:06 pm:

    In a professional work environment, things are much more clear. You don’t hug and you don’t engage in playful banter. You respect people’s personal space and you treat others how you would want them to treat your mother, wife, or daughter. The problem is that the statehouse is not a truly professional work environment and behavior by legislators and others has gone unchecked or unaddressed for years.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 5:43 pm:

    ==I don’t think it’s as crystal clear as you think==

    Many relationships (including eventual marriages) start at the workplace. My Uncle and Aunt met as school teachers (CPS).

    Sexual harassment comes on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. His level of depravity couldn’t happen at most workplaces.

  30. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 5:45 pm:

    –Sexual harassment comes on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.–

    Yeah, I know I can’t think of any other examples that have been in the news in recent days, weeks, months, years.

    Just that one.

  31. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 6:04 pm:

    “In a professional work environment, things are much more clear.”

    No… It is not. If you have had that experience, I’m glad you did, and I hope you never have to experience harassment of any kind in a professional setting for the rest of your career( not snark at all). But don’t paint professional workplaces as a utopia. It happens everywhere men or women feel they can get away with power plays.

  32. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 7:03 pm:

    Example of how Mike Madigan is a valuable legislative leader.

  33. - Crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 7:46 pm:

    I’m sorry, sexual harassment is just not that hard. Are you making someone feel uncomfortable at work? Then stop.

    Just because it’s pervasive doesn’t mean it isn’t clear cut.

    Be a considerate and responsible grown-up with peers in the workplace, manage conflicts of interest (including for the sake of third parties), leave underlings alone.

    Really not hard. At all.

  34. - Crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 7:48 pm:

    ==The problem is that the statehouse is not a truly professional work environment==

    Exactly so.

    There’s going to be some growing pains.

    It’s past time.

  35. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 8:08 pm:

    I can’t believe we are talking about this. I do not buy into the fact that grownups don’t know what proper behavior is. Good leaders and good managers should have already laid out lines of communication. If they haven’t. Good riddance.

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 8:08 pm:

    -I don’t think it’s as crystal clear as you think-

    True. Regulating after-hours behavior won’t be as easy as it sounds, and then is apparently when a good part of the bad conduct occurs.

  37. - Amalia - Tuesday, Oct 24, 17 @ 9:25 pm:

    mark brown article on this all but names a name.

  38. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Oct 25, 17 @ 7:50 am:

    Column Amalia was referring to-

  39. - BigDoggie - Wednesday, Oct 25, 17 @ 8:37 am:

    Amalia - what do you mean “names a name”? I didn’t see anyone named in that article.

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 25, 17 @ 9:05 am:

    BD, she said “all but names names.”

    Brown provides a pretty clear path on that first one for those who’ve been around a while. If Insp. Clouseau had been in Springfield back in those days, he could arrive at a reasonable conclusion, given the specific clues.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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