Biss to introduce sexual harassment prevention legislation


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) speaks at an event. Biss will introduce legislation requiring all legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists to undergo sexual harassment training.

Ryan Wangman, Development and Recruitment Editor

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) will partner with State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford) to introduce legislation that would require all legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists to undergo sexual harassment training.

Biss said in a news release Tuesday that increased attention to issues of sexual harassment provides an opportunity to enact lasting change. He said it was important to acknowledge the “toxic culture of sexual harassment in Springfield.”

“Instead of waiting to hear more stories, instead of evading responsibility, we must use today’s spotlight as an opportunity to create changes that will endure beyond this news cycle,” Biss said.

The Washington Post reported there is currently an open letter “alleging widespread sexual harassment in Illinois politics and urging women and their allies to come forward” circulating the Capitol.

Wallace, who is Biss’ running mate in his bid for Illinois governor, said sexual harassment is one of the main reasons women — specifically women of color — are underrepresented in Springfield. Just raising awareness of the issue is not enough, she said.

“We have the power to change this culture, and to set up our systems to support women — and with that power comes a responsibility to act,” Wallace said. “We owe it to all the women who have shared their experiences, and to all those who haven’t come forward, to build systems set up to prevent sexual harassment.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ryanwangman