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State Representative Margo McDermed today received the 2016 "Friend of Agriculture" award from the Illinois Farm Bureau. The award recognizes state and federal legislators who understand and advocate for the importance of agriculture in thier respective positions as leaders. Rep. McDermed was presented with a John Deere tractor on a white oak base plate. It was presented by both the Cook and Will County farm bureaus. 
If you missed my townhalls over the last few weeks, I’d like to catch you up on some things happening around the state and in the district.

Free Shred Truck Event
       I am partnering with Shark Shredding to host a free shred truck in the parking lot of my district office at 11032 W Lincoln Highway. The event will take place on Saturday October 15th from 9 to 11am. Drivers are asked to follow signs and bring their vehicles up to the truck where volunteers will be available to unload documents. No more than two boxes of shreddable documents will be accepted from each vehicle and the event is rain or shine. This is a great opportunity for constituents to safely and securely dispose of sensitive documents as a way to help prevent identity theft.

New Appointments
          Over the summer I was appointed to the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory council. The SPAC advises the Governor on legislation and compiles data on incarnation rates, their financial cost, and how to improve the state’s criminal justice system through reform. The sentencing council is an important part of the State’s revitalized push for criminal justice reform.
           I was also named a “guardian of small business” by the National Federation of Independent Business for my 100% positive voting record on small business legislation in Springfield. 
Mokena, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R- Mokena) was recently awarded recognition through the title of "Guardian of Small Business" by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The NFIB is Illinois' largest small business association, representing 11,000 businesses across the state. Every two years the organization scores legislators based on key small business votes they take in Springfield. Rep. McDermed received the award for her 100% voting record on small business legislation.

“Small businesses are and will continue to be the building blocks of any state’s economy.” Rep. McDermed said. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my record of support and I will continue to promote the small business community and the jobs they create.”

Illinois small businesses make up 98% of all Illinois businesses and employ nearly half of the workforce. Illinois is not seen as a business friendly state and receives poor marks regularly from national surveys. A recent small business survey from Thumbtrack found that Illinois got Fs in overall friendliness, ease of starting a business, employment, labor and hiring, tax code and licensing.
Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has been chosen by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to sit on the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC). She replaces former State Rep. John Anthony who resigned from the House of Representatives in June.

The SPAC advises the Governor on legislation and compiles data on incarnation rates, their financial cost, and how to improve the state’s criminal justice system through reform. Last year’s report from the council found that in Illinois the recidivism rate is 48%, meaning the within 3 years of release, 48% end up back in prison, at a high cost to the state, those re-incarcerated, and their victims.

“I am pleased that the Governor’s administration has made criminal justice reform, including sentencing, a major initiative of his tenure,” Rep. McDermed said. “Now Illinois can really get to work on reforms that can rehabilitate both this state and its citizens. We must have fair sentencing that will still deter future criminals and policies in place to get offenders back on their feet as productive members of society.”

The council is a 19 member nonpartisan group consisting of state and local criminal justice system stakeholders including legislators, retired judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, corrections and court officials, law enforcement, victims' rights advocates, and academics. Rep. McDermed currently sits on the Juvenile Justice and System-Involved Committee in the House. 
The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Energy Assistance recently announced that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will begin accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning September 1, 2016.

LIHEAP and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program are funded as part of the stopgap funding plan signed into law by Governor Rauner.

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households. Applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. These agencies will begin accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis from the elderly and people with disabilities starting on September 1, 2016.

Read more on the Caucus Blog