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Bush advances measure allowing legislative staff to file harassment claims

bush 022118SPRINGFIELD – 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.”

Sen. Melinda Bush

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31st Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Sheri Jesiel; Sam Yingling

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Government Reform (Chairperson); Human Services; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Local Government; Revenue.

Biography: Born March 18, 1956; former member of the Lake County Board, Forest Preserve Board and former Grayslake village trustee; married (Andy) with one adult son (Chris).