Capitol News Illinois - February 25, 2019 | original article

SPRINGFIELD – With more in the works for the new session, 12 bills became law last year as a result of a yearlong investigation by the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention.

“Task forces many times meet, and many times there isn’t a lot of actual legislation that comes out and is signed into law,” said Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat who co-chaired the task force. “So we’re really proud of the work that has been done here.”

Surrounded by several other members of the task force, Bush and fellow co-chair Sen. Jil Tracy, a Quincy Republican, held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the task force’s newly-released report, and to detail some of the legislation that resulted from its investigation last year.

The outcomes included, among other things, legislation that requires lobbyists, legislators and state employees to receive harassment training; extends the statute of limitations for sexual conduct offenses; gives assault victims more rights at medical facilities; and requires taxing bodies to notify the public if an employee is fired for sexual harassment or discrimination.

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Category: In The News

The State Journal Register - February 20, 2019 | original article

SPRINGFIELD — Two senators who co-chaired the Senate's sexual discrimination and harassment awareness task force said Tuesday they want an omnibus bill passed this year to combat harassment in the workplace.

Sens. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, and Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, said Senate Bill 1829 will address a wide range of issues to combat sexual harassment, including:

  • Limits on employers requiring non-disclosure agreements, forced arbitration clauses and non-disparagement agreements of employees when it comes to sexual harassment
  • Require employers to have sexual harassment prevention training
  • Require large employers to report on numbers of sexual harassment settlements against them
  • Prohibit court orders that cover up acts of harassment
  • Provides unpaid leave from work for victims of sexual harassment or sexual violence.

A dozen bills were passed by Illinois lawmakers last year after the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace -- including in the Illinois Capitol -- got national attention.

"We know there's a lot more work to be done in this arena and we plan on continuing," Bush said.

In addition to the omnibus bill, bush and Tracy said they want to see enactment of legislation requiring hotels and casinos make panic buttons available to certain employees. The buttons can be used to summon help if the employee feels threatened.

"I do want to say they have already been very proactive and are working to move pieces like that forward in the industry," Bush said.

Category: In The News

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Pritzker’s first budget address:

“After years of unrealistic gimmicks and major cuts to education and human services from the previous administration, it’s refreshing to see a transparent plan from the new governor that is realistic but also recognizes the issues we face as a state,” Bush said. “Social service providers, public schools and universities had their funding gutted for years. I’m pleased that Gov. Pritzker is choosing to invest in our communities and institutions, rather than make them fight to survive.”


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks at a press conference regarding the Senate sexual harassment task forceSPRINGFIELD – Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Co-Chairs State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) issued a joint statement following the release of the task force’s report:

“The stories from victims of sexual harassment and discrimination that were shared with the task force over the past year were eye-opening experiences that needed to be heard,” Bush said. “As a result of the victims’ bravery, we passed several laws last year that were in response to things we heard and recommendations that were made during task force hearings. We’ve worked hard to pass meaningful legislation to protect victims and prevent harassment and discrimination, but there’s still work to be done. I promise to continue fighting to change our laws, and our culture.”

“This report is a crucial next step, however it is not a final one,” Tracy said. “There is still important work to do, but we remain committed to ensuring that everyone can be assured of a harassment free workplace."

The task force report can be found here.

A list of new laws that deal with sexual harassment and discrimination can be found below, along with a list of bills being considered that are based on recommendations made during task force hearings.

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Category: Press Releases

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