Bill advances to ban public fund use in sexual harassment settlements

Several Downstate legislators are co-sponsoring legislation to ban the use of public funds for hush money after reports surfaced that Congressional funds were used to pay settlements with former employees regarding sexual harassment allegations.

stuart katie square“Public dollars should never be used to buy silence,” said state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, one of the co sponsors of the measure that has passed the House and moved this week to the Senate. “This is commonsense legislation that will ensure taxpayer dollars are not used to pay off sexual harassment settlements in exchange for silence.”

House Bill 4243 prohibits public funds from being used for payouts in relation to sexual harassment investigations or allegations in exchange for a complainant’s silence or inaction. As a member of the House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force, Stuart is working with legislators and stakeholders to strengthen Illinois’ workplace discrimination and harassment protections for private and public sector employees throughout Illinois.

“Our state government should be a safe place to work and interact,” Stuart said. “We continue our work on the House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force to create an open and welcoming culture and ensure protections for all who visit or work in our State Capitol. As we work towards these solutions, there are monumental steps that we can take along the way to increase transparency and foster a culture where everyone feels safe.”

Among House members who cosponsored the bill are Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, and Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton.

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