State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) told members of the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention April 10 that legislators should not be serving on the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Bivins has introduced Senate Bill 2263 to prohibit sitting legislators and registered lobbyists from being appointed to the Legislative Ethics Commission.
“This legislation is not an attack on any individual member’s character. I don’t want anyone to misconstrue what we’re doing here. It’s just that sitting legislators should not police other sitting legislators. It is a very difficult thing to do when you have a complaint about someone who might be a seat mate, or someone who you worked with for years,” Bivins said. “This legislation is common sense. It gives victims more of a voice and more assurance that the process is there for them, and not for the legislators.”
Senate Bill 2263 states that Commission members could not serve if they have been convicted of a felony; have been a registered lobbyist in the last 10 years; are related to the person appointing them; have been a State officer, State employee, or General Assembly member or employee in the last 10 years; or hold a partisan elected or political party office, or are an officer or employee or a political committee or political campaign.
Asked by a Senate Task Force member if there were any objections to Senate Bill 2263, Bivins said, “Well, it’s been put in subcommittee, so I am not sure if that is an objection.”
Senate Bill 2263 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Subcommittee on Special Issues. Bivins said assigning a bill to a subcommittee is sometimes a move by opponents to shelve it, to make it go away.
“I will keep pushing to get Senate Bill 2263 a hearing before the Executive Committee, and move it to the Senate for a vote by all the Senators,” Bivins said.
The objective of the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention is to help ensure that every woman and man feels safe in their work environment—and comfortable filing complaints if their safety is violated. The members use testimony to analyze the issues and illegal activities workers face within the private and public sectors to determine what types of proposed changes and legislation will be needed to reduce and eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.