SPRINGFIELD – Staff members of elected officials are one step closer to being able to file sexual harassment claims thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that passed in the Senate with strong bipartisan support.

“The sexual harassment allegations that have come out in recent months made clear the need to re-examine our policies, work to change the culture in Springfield and do everything possible to make sure all victims are able to seek justice for sexual harassment,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The fact that staff of elected officials are not protected under the Human Rights Act is extremely problematic and needs to be changed.”

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, “immediate personal staff” of elected officials are exempt from the definition of employee and are therefore unable to report human rights violations, including sexual harassment, to the Department of Human Rights. Senate Bill 576 would delete this exemption.

Bush, who chairs the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, introduced the measure after hearing testimony from employees of the Illinois Department of Human Rights during a recent task force meeting. Representatives from the department testified that because of the lack of clarification as to who constitutes “immediate personal staff” of elected officials, the department does not know how to handle those claims.

“Legislative staffers should have never been excluded from the Human Rights Act in the first place,” Bush said. “This bill will give legislative staffers the same rights as all other employees in the state – the right to seek justice and report human rights violations and sexual harassment in the work place.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Staff members of elected officials would be granted the right to file sexual harassment claims under a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that advanced out of the Senate Executive Committee today.

“The claims that have come out over the past several months have made it clear that we need to change the way we handle sexual harassment and make sure everyone knows where to go to seek justice,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “The fact that staff of elected officials aren’t considered employees and therefore aren’t protected under the Human Rights Act is egregious.”

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, immediate personal staff of elected officials are exempt from the definition of employee and are therefore unable to report human rights violations, including sexual harassment, to the Department of Human Rights. Senate Bill 576 would delete this exemption.

“It’s clear that the system was set up to protect perpetrators and leave victims with nowhere to turn,” Bush said. “Legislative staffers should’ve never been excluded from the Human Rights Act. This measure will give them the same rights as every other employee in the state.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush responds to Governor Rauner's budget plan

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

“Today, the governor proposed a plan to cut retirement incomes, slash important human service programs and shift the state’s financial responsibilities to local governments. It’s a plan that would shift costs to those who can least afford it: property tax payers, seniors and low- and middle-income families.

“The governor touted an increase in funding for Illinois schools, an increase that is required by the school funding bill he vetoed, but he didn’t highlight how much property taxes would go up under his proposal to shift costs from the state to local school districts. Lake County has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Under Rauner’s plan, Lake County residents would be forced to pay even higher property taxes to maintain school quality.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address:

“While Governor Rauner has a good record of talking about bipartisanship and the need to work together to turn our state around, his actions over the past three years say otherwise. Since he took office, Rauner has repeatedly refused to compromise and at times blocked bipartisan efforts to move our state forward and pass a balanced budget. Governor Rauner is quick to blame others for our state’s problems, but has failed to provide meaningful solutions. I truly hope that this year the governor takes charge and follows his calls to reach across the aisle.”

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Category: Press Releases

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