Yingling Pushes to Open the Books on Sexual Harassment Claims
02/06/2018ROUND LAKE BEACH, Ill. – In response to reports that members of Congress used public funds to pay settlements in sexual harassment cases, state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, is pushing for reforms that would force governments to disclose severance agreement payments as a result of sexual harassment allegations and prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for settlement agreements.
“There are too many mechanisms in place for units of government to hide instances of sexual harassment,” said Yingling. “Illinois needs to step up and be a national leader in transparency, prevention and inclusion. No one should be able to hide their crimes behind government bureaucracy, and no taxpayer should ever be on the hook for inappropriate, criminal behavior. These bills are one step towards holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.”
Yingling is sponsoring House Bill 4242 to force taxing entities such as school boards, local governments, community colleges or libraries to notify the public any time the entity makes severance package payments to an outgoing member or staff accused of sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. House Bill 4243 prohibits the Illinois General Assembly from using taxpayer dollars to settle accusations of sexual harassment toward lawmakers.
“We must empower victims to come forward, encourage others to speak out, and ensure settlements aren’t shrouded in secrecy or paid for by taxpayers," Yingling continued. "I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact these and other reforms to protect every member of our society from harassment and discrimination.”