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Youngest African American Congressmember Lauren Underwood Wins first Legislative Victory that includes New Anti-Sexual Harassment Provisions
By Sentinel News Wire
Published January 11, 2019

Photo By: R. Dione Foto (www.rdionefoto.com)

Democratic House Rules Package Includes Underwood Authored New Anti-Sexual Harassment Provisions

Washington, DC – Today, Lauren Underwood (D-IL) was sworn into Congress to represent Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. The historic day was cemented by the passage of the Opening Day Rules Package for the 116th Congress (H. Res 6) which includes two provisions authored by Rep. Underwood that build on the 2018 update to the Congressional Accountability Act. These provisions will prohibit sexual relationships between members of Congress and their committee staff and will prohibit the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence sexual assault survivors and witnesses.

“It is a new day in the House of Representatives. In the Democratic Majority, when the American people have elected the most diverse Congress with more women serving than ever before, we are demonstrating a commitment to conducting the business of our Nation with the highest standards of ethics and decency.

My contributions to this legislation will prevent abuse, harassment, intimidation, threats, and discrimination that would be illegal in other workplaces. Survivors have told us how nondisclosure agreements have been misused to silence survivors and witnesses. ‘Time’s Up’ has come to the halls of Congress,” said Rep. Underwood.

“Congresswoman-elect Underwood’s leadership made this important change possible. Our rules package is stronger for it. We are moving to clean up Washington on day one so the American people can have faith in this institution again,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern.

H. Res 724 banned sexual relationships between members and staff under their supervision. This rule extends the ban to relationships between committee staffers and any Member who serves on their Committee of employment.

Also included in the Rules Package is a prohibition on the use of nondisclosure agreements to prevent congressional staffers from speaking to the Office of Compliance, the House Ethics Committee or the Office of Congressional Ethics.

“No employee should fear discrimination or harassment in the workplace, and these important reforms further strengthen our commitment to a productive and harassment-free workplace.

I thank Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern for including these robust protections in the rules changes for the 116th Congress, and I further thank Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her enduring leadership on sexual assault prevention,” said Rep. Underwood.

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