The Daily Northwestern

Female Illinois lawmakers take steps to address sexual harassment in workplace

Ryan Wangman, City Editor

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Female Illinois legislators are taking steps to address sexual harassment in the workplace by forming a panel independent of Democratic party funding and oversight, they announced in a letter on Sunday.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and State Rep. Carol Ammons are co-chairs of the Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel. The three women will work to develop guidelines for adoption by all Democratic officeholders, campaigns and nonprofit organizations. The guidelines will look to “eliminate institutional protections for abusers and provide resources to help survivors continue in their careers,” according to the letter.

House Speaker Michael Madigan called on the three lawmakers to form the panel after he received negative attention for his handling of cases of sexual misconduct.

For the sake of maintaining the integrity of their work, the three wrote in their letter that they will establish an independent funding mechanism to pay for the staff, research and other resources necessary to create the guidelines.

“Sexual harassment and inequality have damaged the lives and undermined the careers of countless women in every profession,” the three wrote. “All of us share in the responsibility to address this long-standing and pervasive ill that exists in our culture that has spanned generations.”

Twitter: @ryanwangman