Skillicorn calls for more progress on ending sexual harassment

SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) wants the sexual harassment conversation in the General Assembly to continue.

At a House hearing on Oct. 31, activist Denise Rotheimer accused Senate Majority Caucus Whip Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) of sexually harassing her a year ago, and Chicago-based political fundraiser Katelyn Duncan gathered approximately 300 signatures in a show of solidarity over sexual harassment in Illinois politics.

That’s why Skillicorn wants to continue talks on SB402, which mandates annual sexual harassment training for every lawmaker, state employee and lobbyists who works in the Capitol.

“I urge a ‘yea’ vote,” Skillicorn said during debate of the bill introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan (R-Chicago). “I also urge we continue this discussion and move forward on to a situation where we can go after and prosecute the people that have wronged the people in this building.”

Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) also introduced House Bill 4151, co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora), at an impromptu press conference. The legislation revises requirements for the composition, duration and responsibilities of appointees to the Legislative Ethics Commission and increases the current $5,000 ethical violation fine to $25,000.

“I am very excited that leadership chose to modify the Inspector General Act by adding this language including sexual harassment,” Skillicorn said. “I would love to have an opportunity to work with leadership to add other things and further this discussion.”

Skillicorn urged support for changing the law and allowing technology to assist in stopping harassment.

“If we were confronted by a harasser, we could always record this harassment on the telephone, but unfortunately Illinois is a two-person consent law state, so you can’t actually record someone harassing you and use that against them,” Skillicorn said. “I just want to continue this discussion because we need to restore trust in our state, and we don’t have that here in the Statehouse.”

Skillicorn said Illinois has seen its share of corruption, fraud and abuse, and he hopes the newly proposed legislation will curtail it.

“I think this might be a really good first step in correcting a trust issue we have with Illinois taxpayers,” Skillicorn said.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

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