In a House committee meeting yesterday a victims’ rights advocate who lobbies the Illinois legislature says she was sexually harassed while trying to do her job. Denise Rotheimer says that she was harassed in person, over Facebook and via phone by Democratic Senator Ira Silverstein. The allegations were made during testimony as a committee considered enacting annual sexual harassment training for lawmakers, staff and lobbyist. Speaker of the House Mike Madigan says there also needs to be a task force to address the environment at the Capitol.
Silverstein has said what Rotheimer is alleging is false. But he says if he offended her he will apologize.
Lawmakers, staff, lobbyists and state employees would have to go through the training annually, highlighting what constitutes harassment and what victims can do about it. Representative Linda Chapa Lavia of Aurora says she supports the idea and is glad the problem is coming to light.
A committee approved the legislation and a full vote is expected next week during the fall veto session.