Rep. Ann Williams’ Legislation on Teaching Comprehensive Consent Becomes Law

August 26th, 2019

Springfield, IL – Today, Governor Pritzker signed HB 3550, a bill to add a clear, comprehensive definition of consent to Illinois sex education curriculum, making Illinois one of only about a dozen states to address the issue.

“Understanding consent is a critical part of the conversation on sexual assault prevention,” said Williams. “We cannot wait until students go to college or into the workplace to have a discussion about what it means to consent to sexual interaction. We need to start early with age-appropriate instruction on what consent is – and what it isn’t.”

The need to discuss consent as part of any sex ed curriculum has gained heightened attention in the wake of the #metoo movement, the Kavanaugh hearings, and the media coverage of sex abuse in Chicago Public Schools. As Illinois continues to evaluate its sex education laws, consent must remain a foundational component of any curriculum.

“This bill is a proactive step to equip students and educators with the tools they need to have these important conversations,” said Williams. “I thank Governor Pritzker for this support today, as well as Senate sponsor Kimberly Lightford and all the advocates who helped to advance this bill through the General Assembly.”

“I am grateful for the survivors who helped me shape the legislation. Their voices continue to be a critical part of the conversation, and the stories they have shared are truly changing the narrative.” Williams is hopeful that this legislation can serve as a model for other states to follow.

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