Rauner signs law expanding independence of ethics complaints

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed into law an overhaul in the handling of ethics complaintsagainst Illinois legislators and staff members.

The Republican said on Friday that it’s a victory for courageous women confronting “the culture of fear, abuse and retaliation that permeates too much of state government.”

The law provides more independence to investigations of ethics complaints and more public information about the process. The plan sponsored by Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush was crafted by House and Senate task forces.

It allows the legislative inspector general to initiate investigations into harassment complaints without getting permission from lawmakers on the Ethics Commission. It creates a new commission to include outsiders and allows for penalties regardless of whether the offender has left employment.