FILE - Speaker Michael Madigan 6-21-17

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks to reporters at the state Capitol on June 21, 2017.

In crafting a response to explosive allegations of sexual harassment, the state of Illinois enacted sweeping ethics reforms. The new rules applied to nearly anyone the state dealt with but for one big exclusion.

When Senate Bill 402 became the law of the land last November, it meant state workers, lawmakers, even companies from other states that sent lobbyists to Springfield, had to change their employee handbooks to adhere to the new harassment requirements. That's everyone except political parties and political action committees, or PACs. This comes as House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Democratic party and campaign organization is facing harassment allegations, with possibly more to come.

Former campaign worker Alaina Hampton said last week that she was seeking to sue Madigan’s campaign committee and the Democratic Party of Illinois. She was supervised by Kevin Quinn, who Hampton accused of harassing her throughout the 2016 election cycle.

Hampton’s spokesperson, Lorna Brett, says it’s convenient that political groups would be excluded from the new law crafted by Madigan and his staff.

“It’s very conspicuously missing covering the Democratic committees and parties involved,” she said.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said Friday that the state should look into laws like California’s, which requires harassment training for any employer that has more than 50 workers.

“That’s certainly something we need to talk about,” she said. “If that happened in my campaign, that person would no longer be there.”

Brett said Madigan could simply pass legislation that required political entities to adhere to the harassment laws.

“We’ll see if he’s committed to stopping sexual harassment in this state,” she said. “He’s the speaker. He could amend this law at any moment.”

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.