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State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has issued the following statement on the Illinois House's vote to increase the minimum wage to $15:

"Yet again, Illinois is choosing policy  choosing policy that sounds agreeable on its face, but ignores the unintended calamitous consequences that will naturally result. In less than 7 days spent in Springfield, the Illinois Senate and House have rammed through legislation that will implement an 82% increase in the minimum wage in less than six years. On January 1st 2025, Illinois will have the highest minimum wage in the country. Illinois already lags behind the Midwest and the rest of the country in job and population growth and this kind of sudden shock to our already fraught economy and job market will only further spur the downward spiral. The doubtless negative economic effects do not even touch on the ripple effect this will have on state and local budgets, including our already sky-high property taxes. Illinois’ current fiscal year budget is billions of dollars out of balance and with this vote we have added new budgetary pressures year after year with no way to pay for them. 

In the very little time we had to consider this bill I heard from numerous constituents about the adverse effects it will have on virtually everyone; employers, employees, and consumers. I voted no because while well intentioned, this legislation ignores the realities of small business owners, Illinois’ fiscal situation, and countless other factors."

Committees Get Underway

Much of the session work of last week was spent in organizing the 39 standing committees of the Illinois House of Representatives. These are the panels that will hear most of the legislation introduced in the House through January 2021.
Committees and subcommittees are authorized to hold hearings on the bills and resolutions presented to them. Subject-matter hearings are hearings in which the members of the panel hear evidence about a pending measure while considering their final action. Voting hearings are hearings in which the members of the panel hear evidence and testimony, and then vote on the pending measure at once. In addition to standing committees, House leadership may set up one or more special committees to hold hearings and gather information on specific issues of urgent public interest.

Committees are scheduled and hearings on subjects are held at the discretion of the committee chair, who is the ranking member of the majority party as appointed by the House Speaker. All bills filed are submitted to the Rules Committee, a small committee comprising of just 5 members (3D, 2R). In order for a bill to advance to a specific committee, it must first be approved by the Rules Committee. A process that stifles legislation and ideas from rank and file members.

I was named the Republican Spokesperson (ranking minority member) on the Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges and the Judiciary- Civil Law House Committees. In addition, I will serve on the Judiciary-Criminal Law and the Revenue & Finance Committees.

Springfield, IL… With medical ID theft on the rise, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pushing for Illinois to protect victims and specifically add it to the state Criminal Code.
 “As medical prices skyrocket, medical ID theft is becoming more and more prevalent.” Rep. McDermed said. “However, because it’s not as easily identifiable or rectified like simple credit card theft, for many victims the crime doesn’t surface until unthinkable damage has been done. Victims are often left with serious ramifications like maxed out insurance and altered medical records.”
Image result for medical id theft
When your medical identity is stolen it can be used to steal expensive medical services, prescription drugs, to procure medical devices or equipment, to falsify insurance claims, or to acquire government benefits like Medicare and Medicaid. Not only can thieves rack up medical bills, but it is also possible that their own medical treatment, history, and diagnoses can get mixed up with your own electronic health records impacting your own care and treatment.
Current consumer protections aren’t specifically designed for medical identity theft, leaving victims on the hook for fraudulent medical expenses. Last year the federal government issued new Medicare cards that removed Social Security Numbers in an effort to crack down on Medicare fraud, but there are still serious lapses in state and federal law. All states have identity theft legislation on the books, but very few specifically address medical identity theft, including Illinois.
House Bill 1656 seeks to rectify that by adding medical and health insurance information to the definitions of identity theft in the Illinois Criminal Code. This will help protect victims of medical identity theft from being sued by medical providers and ordered to pay for services they never received.
“It’s startling how ill equipped the healthcare industry is prepared to handle fraud compared to the financial world.” Rep. McDermed continued. “We need to act to protect these victims, but in the meantime I encourage everyone to be vigilant and secure their medical insurance card.”
According to the FTC, signs of medical identity theft include:
·         a bill for medical services you didn’t receive
·         a call from a debt collector about a medical debt you don’t owe
·         medical collection notices on your credit report that you don’t recognize
·         a notice from your health plan saying you reached your benefit limit
·         a denial of insurance because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
HB 1656 has been filed and is in the Rules Committee awaiting committee assignment. 
Mokena, IL… As the 101st General Assembly gets underway, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has put out a new survey to engage with constituents on issues that are expected to come up.  
“I am working on setting my legislative priorities and it is important from me to hear from the residents who will be impacted by the decisions I make in Springfield,” Rep. McDermed said. “Ultimately I work on behalf of my constituents and this will be a very important resource for me in the coming months.”
Many residents in the 37th will soon see a 12 question survey appear in their mailbox. Residents are asked to it out and return it in the mail to 11032 W Lincoln Hwy, Frankfort, IL 60423. The survey is also available online here.
“As always, constituents can continually reach out to my office share their input on any and all legislative issues, but these I feel are some of the biggest issues that we will face in the 101st GA,” Rep. McDermed continued. “I highly encourage everyone to take a moment to fill out this brief survey and thank you in advance for your input.”
The 37th legislative district that Rep. McDermed represents includes all or parts of New Lenox, Mokena, Tinley Park, Frankfort, Homer Glen, Joliet, Lockport, and Orland Park. If you have any questions, you can call Rep. McDermed’s office at (815) 277-2079. 
Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) wants to put the full weight of the Illinois House behind a national effort to encourage telephone providers to implement new protocols that will crack down on illegal robocalls and filter out spoofed calls.

 “Residents are fed up with these incessant calls,” Rep. McDermed said. “Taking action and enforcing current law however, is complicated by technology and loopholes.”
Federally, robocalls from anyone other than politicians or charities are illegal. However, that hasn’t stopped them. 30 billion robocalls were made in 2017, a number that is growing from year-to-year because of new technology like autodialers that companies can use to send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost. Having a phone number registered on the national Do Not Call Registry does little to discourage or stop criminal phone scams and other annoying calls as the companies that use this technology don’t bother to screen for numbers on the registry. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) robocalls and scams are the number one consumer complaint and they received 4.5 million complaints in 2018. In 2017 an estimated 22.1 million Americans lost $9.5 billion dollars from phone scams.
Scam callers are becoming more sophisticated, using spoofing technology to mimic local area codes in order to fool the call recipient. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been working on new phone verification methods including the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN). According to software company TransNexus, STIR and SHAKEN use public key cryptography and trusted authorities to validate a phone number. This is similar to how Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is used to establish secure web connections. If implemented, these protocols are expected to produce a significant drop in robocalls and have been likened to the efforts that cracked down on email spam.
STIR & SHAKEN Workflow
 “Illinois by itself doesn’t have the authority to compel phone providers to adopt this system and even if we could, technology changes so fast that mandating a certain procedure or technology could be counterproductive.” Rep. McDermed said. “Right now implementing caller authentication services is voluntary and until the FCC requires it of telephone providers we need to push them to step up and act. It will be a win for everyone, including grandma anticipating a call from her grandson and instead falling victim to a scam.”
Last year 35 State Attorneys, including Illinois’ Lisa Madigan, signed a letter to the FCC urging them to adopt and promote STIR and SHAKEN. House Resolution 67 seeks to put more weight behind this effort by encouraging the same of the FCC and telephone providers. According to the FCC, carriers are not expected to pass any additional costs of implementing such services directly on to consumers. Upon adoption, the resolution would be sent to the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the respective CEOs of the top five telecommunication companies in Illinois.

Reflecting her past work in both the private sector and two previous General Assemblies, State Representative Margo McDermed was named the Republican Spokesperson on the Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges and the Judiciary- Civil Law House Committees. 

As Spokesperson, Rep. McDermed will be responsible for leading the efforts of the minority caucus within each committee; including questioning witnesses who provide testimony at committee hearings, being the lead advocate for caucus positions on legislation assigned to that committee, and negotiating with the Committee Chairperson to reach bipartisan consensus on as many bills as possible.

Committee assignments for the 101st General Assembly were announced on Friday and in addition to her role as a minority spokesperson for the two previously mentioned committees, she will serve on the Judiciary- Criminal Law and the Revenue & Finance Committees. 

Representative McDermed serves the 37th District, which includes most of Will County and a portion of Cook County. The district is a crucial transportation crossroads in Illinois and includes the stretch of I-80 from Tinley Park to New Lenox. Rep. McDermed also serves on the leadership team of the I80 coalition.