Recent allegations of sexual harassment and improper behavior in and around the Illinois Statehouse have not only spurred legislative action, but have renewed calls for the appointment and confirmation of a legislative inspector general.
Last week, legislative leaders said they will support new legislation to require everyone—from legislators, to staff, to lobbyists—to complete yearly comprehensive sexual harassment training and includes defining sexual harassment, how to report allegations of sexual harassment and the consequences of violating the prohibition on sexual harassment and for filing a false report. The measure would specifically add a prohibition on sexual harassment to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act and the Lobbyist Registration Act.
Following a House hearing on the legislation, lawmakers are calling for swift action to fill the state’s vacated legislative inspector general role after learning that, lacking a state legislative inspector general, any complaints filed with that office have been put on hold until that position is filled. As a result, any allegations that have been submitted to the legislative inspector general since 2015 have not been reviewed.
News reports indicate the Legislative Ethics Commission charged with filling that position is scheduled to meet on November 9.