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Crowe fights for protections for victims of sexual harassment

Published: Monday, June 03, 2019 08:59 AM

crowe 060319SPRINGFIELD – Employees who experience sexual harassment or discrimination in their workplace have new rights under legislation cosponsored by State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) that passed out of the Illinois Senate.

“Men and women have the right to speak out against inappropriate behaviors at work without fear of consequences or losing their job,” Crowe said. “These acts cannot and will not be tolerated.”

The initiative creates the Work Place Transparency Act to protect an employee’s rights if they experience sexual harassment, discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace.

The measure also includes major reforms to the state’s ethics investigation process, including making the process more transparent and giving additional rights to victims of harassment and discrimination who file ethics complaints.

Senate Bill 75 also:

  • Limits the use of contract provisions intended to prevent an employee from reporting sexual harassment, such as non-disclosure agreements, arbitration clauses and non-disparagement clauses for cases involving harassment, discrimination and retaliation
  • Makes harassment against contract employees illegal (currently, these employees do not have legal protection against sexual harassment)
  • Clarifies that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if they are perceived to be part of a protected class (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), even if they are not
  • Allows victims of gender-related violence to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning and other assistance
  • Prevents a union representative from representing both a victim of sexual harassment and the alleged harasser in a disciplinary proceeding
  • Requires hotels and casinos to provide employees who work in isolated spaces with panic buttons for use if they are sexually harassed or assaulted

Senate Bill 75 has passed the House and Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature.

Crowe commends Illinois’ commitment to fund education

Published: Sunday, June 02, 2019 02:40 PM

crowe 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) issued the following statement reacting to Illinois’ budget passing both chambers:

“The budget focuses on supporting our students and bringing stability back into our state,” Crowe said. “I commend this General Assembly and the governor for sharing my passion for education and their pledge to invest more in both K-12 and higher education institutions.”

Under the budget beginning July 1, 2019, school districts across the state will get $25 million more than required by the new, evidence-based school funding formula – an increase to $375 million from $350 million. A portion of that money, $50 million, is geared towards relieving home owners of some of their property tax burden.

Higher education will also see a $50 million increase for college grants under the Monetary Award Program (MAP), totaling $451 million.

Counties across the state will receive some much-needed funding to cover the cost of probation services and can also find alternate courts when applicable.

“As a former prosecutor, I know the effect of the costs of probation. It’s critical to relieve some of the burden from communities that have been harmed by the effects of incarceration.”

Numerous vital community programs will also see more funding from the state to expand services and increase wages for workers. Specifically, the Project for Autism will get a $500,000 increase to support individuals with autism.

“Illinois has fulfilled its commitment to middle-class families with this budget, by making more investments into education and social services,” Crowe said. “This is a balanced budget, that is being fiscally responsible to taxpayers, and I am proud to support it.”

Crowe seeks protections for personal genetic data

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 11:07 AM

dnatestkit 052119SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents’ genetic testing results would be protected under a measure carried by State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon).

“As technology advances, we need to respond to new ways it can be improperly used, and the personal data of private citizens is being used inappropriately every day,” Crowe said. “Keeping genetic information confidential is crucial to protecting a person’s right to privacy.”

The legislation prohibits companies that provide direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing, such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe, from sharing any test results with health or life insurance companies without the consumer’s consent.

The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy tests more than doubled during 2017 and exceeded 12 million in 2018. Last year, an estimated 1 in 25 American adults sought out testing of personal genetic data.

House Bill 2189 passed the Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Senate OKs Crowe’s plan on stricter penalties for crimes in places of worship

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 09:35 AM

crowe 052819SPRINGFIELD – People convicted of assault or battery in a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship would face stricter consequences under legislation carried by State Senator Rachelle Crowe.

Crowe, a Democrat from Glen Carbon, is pushing to add an aggravating factor to sentencing considerations for those who commit assault or battery when committed in religious settings.  

“This measure is initiating protections for people to worship freely without fear,” Crowe said. “We must take action against those who instigate attacks on churches, mosques and synagogues, and also seek more severe punishment for them.”

Aggravating factors can influence a court’s decision to include an imprisoning sentence or increase the chance for a more severe sentence.

This initiative continues the work of Senator Crowe’s predecessor, former State Senator Bill Haine. The legislation was inspired by a shooting that occurred the First Baptist Church in Maryville in 2009, in which Rev. Fred Winters lost his life and two parishioners were injured.

“Church is one of the places you should feel the safest,” Cindy Winters, widow of Rev. Winters, said. “Fred’s death was heartbreaking, not only for me, but for our entire community, and I sympathize with those who have felt a comparable loss. I am extremely grateful to Senator Crowe for her work to get this passed.”

Current law distinguishes aggravated assault as a Class A misdemeanor and aggravated battery as a Class 3 felony. Crowe’s legislation would classify aggravated battery as a Class 1 felony when the accused causes great harm or permanent disability to a victim engaged in prayer or religious service.

“Advancing this legislation wouldn’t have been possible without Representative Mayfield’s sponsorship in the House,” Crowe said. “I am thankful for her work and commitment.”

House Bill 38 passed the Senate and is going back to the House of Representatives for a vote of concurrence.

Sen. Rachelle Crowe

Sen. Rachell Crowe

56th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Committee of the Whole; Criminal Law; Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities; Veterans Affairs.

Associated Representatives:
Monica Bristow
Katie Stuart