Sex-harassment bill puts Illinois leaders on the defensive

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Illinois Legislature.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Legislation requiring sexual-harassment awareness training for everyone working in the Illinois state Capitol has put leaders on the defensive.

House Speaker Michael Madigan plans to call the measure for a House vote this week. It responds to high-profile harassment cases roiling the nation and an open letter in the Illinois Statehouse demanding action.

Madigan proposes complaints be handled by the Legislative Inspector General. The post had been vacant for years until Saturday when former Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Porter was selected during a private meeting.

Legislative activist Denise Rotheimer (RAWTH’-eye-mur) testified that Chicago Democratic Sen. Ira Silverstein harassed her last year while they worked on legislation. She complained to Senate President John Cullerton. His office referred it to the ethics panel, but there was no one there to take action.

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