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Illinois House approves McSweeney's bill prohibiting use of state funds in harassment claims

Measure now moves on to Illinois Senate

Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills
Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills

The Illinois House voted, 113-0, on Wednesday to approve a measure from Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, to prevent the use of state funds from being used to protect legislators from sexual harassment accusers.

The legislation, House Bill 4243, prohibits the use of public funds to buy silence or inaction related to allegations or investigations of sexual harassment by a member of the General Assembly.

“The idea of taxpayers’ money potentially being used to buy silence in sexual harassment cases against Illinois legislators is an affront to taxpayers,” McSweeney said in a statement. “As we learn more about cases of sexual harassment in Springfield, we need to be proactive in making sure our tax dollars are not being used to cover up incidents of harassment and abuse.”

As a wave of alleged sexual misconduct hit Hollywood, the media and other industries in the fall, an open letter circulated through the state Capitol demanding an end to a culture of disrespectful treatment of women.

HB 4243 now moves to the Illinois Senate for further consideration, where it is sponsored by Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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