A top deputy of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan abruptly resigned from key leadership posts Thursday after a former medical marijuana advocate accused him of retaliation, verbal abuse and “inappropriate behavior.”
Advocate Maryann Loncar was still describing her allegations to reporters at the Capitol when Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie announced he was stepping down as deputy majority leader and relinquishing his spot on a committee that investigates complaints lodged against lawmakers and staff.
The harassment allegations came less than a day after Lang made a speech on the House floor as he won approval of the federal Equal Rights Amendment, which seeks to guarantee that rights can’t be denied because of a person’s sex. Flanked by female colleagues, Lang held his own news conference Thursday and dismissed the allegations as “absurd” while also acknowledging he had requested that the legislature’s watchdog investigate them.
“I just don’t want my situation to be in anybody’s way. I have a responsibility. After 31 years in the Democratic caucus, it means something to me. And I’m not going to let these people down,” Lang said.
The accusations arrived on the final day of a tumultuous spring session in which Madigan’s leadership repeatedly came under fire as women detailed what they said was a culture of gender discrimination and harassment in the