Sexual Harassment Training Begins In Springfield

CHICAGO (CBS) — State lawmakers today took the first concrete steps toward changing the culture at the capitol by undergoing sexual harassment training.

House Democrats marched into a meeting room for their first-ever training on sexual harassment. House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago, called it productive.

“The advice coming out of the meeting and the warning coming out of the meeting is to develop a code of conduct that is deemed acceptable and live under it,” said Madigan. “And if you don’t engage in good and appropriate conduct you’ll be in big trouble.”

The 90-minute session was conducted by trainers from Illinois Department on Human Rights.

“We need to make sure everyone knows what they should and shouldn’t do, everyone knows what the expectations are and now we can hold them accountable,” said State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch , D-Westchester.

It’s more fallout from revelations about sexual harassment under the capitol dome.

The only lawmaker publicly accused: State Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, whom victim rights advocate Denise Rothheimer claims harassed her for 18 months.

Now, lawmakers have taken a series of steps:

*The appointment of an Inspector General for the first time in years.

*Establishing a task force for further study

*Setting up a hotline to report violations

*Outlining a clear process for complaints.

“Men should be holding each other accountable, women should be supporting each other and anybody in a position of power should be stopping and thinking ‘what am I doing?'” said  State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford.

Most lawmakers seemed relieved by the lightning-quick, bipartisan action hoping to put the scandal to rest and move it out of the headlines.

Both House and Senate Democrats received their sexual harassment training today. Republicans will attend the same sessions on Thursday.

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