SPRINGFIELD – Illinois taxpayers should be relieved to learn their hard-earned tax dollars will not be used to silence sexual harassment victims, as they were found to be used at the federal level last year.
HB 4243, introduced by State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), was signed into law Friday by Governor Rauner. The new law prohibits the use of state funds to pay for silence or inaction related to an allegation or investigation of sexual harassment against a member of the General Assembly. The prohibition includes the district office allowances given to members to use largely at their discretion.
"Under no circumstances should taxpayer funds be used to silence sexual harassment cases involving elected officials," McSweeney said. “This is an important and proactive step given the troubling culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. Illinois taxpayers will not have their hard-earned money spent on covering up incidents of harassment and abuse.”
Rep. McSweeney's legislation was prompted by news reports over the past year that revealed the existence of a federal fund financed by U.S. taxpayers that was used by Congressmen for payments to persons making allegations of harassment against members of Congress and staff.
HB 4243, now a law, passed both the House and Senate unanimously. It was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park). It is effective immediately.