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Springfield, IL… Following a shocking investigative report by the Chicago Tribune, the House and Senate Education Committees held a joint meeting to hear testimony from sexual harassment and abuse survivors as well as Chicago Public School employees. Taking note of the troubling issues brought up during testimony, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has joined the push for significant legislative changes to sexual misconduct policies in Illinois schools.  
“Obviously we are not doing enough to keep our children safe from predators in places where parents entrust us to protect them,” Rep. McDermed said. “The State needs to step in to ensure that schools are a place where students can feel safe. There needs to be zero tolerance for sexual misconduct by those in positions of authority.”
House Bill 5929 would amend the Chicago and Downstate Articles of the Pension Code to allow the forfeiture of pension benefits of any teacher who is found through an administrative hearing to have sexually abused a student. The legislation would apply to any teacher hired after the effective date of the bill as the pension guarantee written into the Illinois Constitution prohibits ex post facto application of the law.
House Bill 5923 adds stricter provisions to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act by providing for the immediate suspension or revocation of the license of any Illinois educator or other school district employee who negligently, as opposed to just willfully, fails to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect. Rep. McDermed’s own legislation to increase the criminal penalty for any person who knowingly violates reporting requirements in the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, House Bill 5131, was filed earlier this year in response to last year’s revelation of widespread misconduct in national athletic programs. Despite filing a motion to discharge it from committee, HB 5131 never received a hearing or a vote.
Rep. McDermed is also a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation filed before the hearing, House Bill 5914, that would make comprehensive changes to the way in which schools hire teachers and conduct investigations of sexual misconduct.
Legislation spurred by the Tribune'CPS investigation is expected to be heard during the November veto session. If approved and signed, they would be effective immediately.

Image result for i80Frankfort, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has been named to the leadership team of the I-80 Coalition.
The I-80 Coalition was launched by the Will County Center for Economic Development earlier this summer and its members are comprised of representatives from government, business and labor. The purpose of the coalition is to fund a public awareness and lobbying campaign to gin up support for needed improvements to I-80. It is in the process of incorporating itself into a nonprofit group.
“We need a plan that recognizes the state and nationwide significance Will County plays in our transportation system; while appreciating that there are local families that live and travel along these roads every day,” Rep. McDermed said. “This is going to be a huge undertaking, one that needs a sustainable funding source. Getting that will take a bipartisan, coordinated effort.”
A Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Study showed that 60 percent of the nation’s freight, roughly valued at $623 billion, moves through the County, much of that on I-80. This poses numerous safety issues and causes significant congestion along the highly trafficked I-80 corridor. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has included important upgrades to I-80 in its latest multi-year plan, but total costs are estimated around $1 billion and there is currently no established mechanism to fund it.
The 37th Legislative District, represented by Rep. McDermed, comprises a significant portion of Will County including the stretch of I-80 from Tinley Park to New Lenox. In the General Assembly Rep. McDermed is the Republican Spokesperson for the Transportation: Regulation, Roads, and Bridges Committee and sits on all four subcommittees.
New Laws
Summer is the primary time for the Governor to take action on the bills that are sent to him by the General Assembly. Below are just a few of the bills that have been signed in to law over the past few weeks:

SB 2270- authorizes law enforcement to temporarily take custody of a dog or cat if the animal is exposed to extreme temperature conditions for an extended time. The new law will apply to animals trapped in hot motor vehicles and also to those forced to stay outdoors in conditions of extreme cold.

HB 4745- amends Illinois’ procurement law so that it no longer applies to contracts for services, information technology purchases, commodities, and equipment to support the delivery of timely newborn screening services provided by IDPH. A 2007 state law added Krabbe’s Disease to the newborn screening panel, but by 2017 it had still not been implemented. 5 Illinois children died of the disease in the interim. IDPH testified before a House committee that the nearly two year procurement process for new equipment was partly to blame for the delay. Another new law, SB 456, adds Spinal Muscular Dystrophy to the newborn screening panel by 2020.
Frankfort, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), together with One Light Self Defense, is again hosting a free workshop for women and girls. The 3 hour course will help them learn avoidance tactics, self-defense misconceptions, offensive techniques and defensive escapes. The class will be on Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm and will take place in the Frankfort Square Park District building at 7540 W Braemar Lane. 
“The class is open to any and all women and girls over 12, but it will be incredibly beneficial for young women heading off to college or back to school,” Rep. McDermed said. “The instructors at One Light do a great job of teaching a basic understanding of how to avoid becoming a victim of violence and sharing the skills that can be used in the event of an attack. We’ve worked with One Light over the course of numerous classes and the response we get from attendees is always incredibly positive.”

This is the third year that Rep. McDermed is partnering with One Light to offer self-defense classes and the second beginner class offered this year. One Light is a local nonprofit that teaches free courses across Illinois and has traveled to Kenya to teach self-defense skills to young women at risk.

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. While the class is free, donations to One Light are appreciated. 100% of donations go to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, or sexual assault. To learn more about the class or to register, please email mcdermed@ilhousegop.org or call (815)277-2079.

Frankfort, IL… For the fourth year in a row, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to host a Senior Fair full of vendors and helpful information for residents in the 37th district. The event will be on Thursday, August 16th at the Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center located at 10847 W. LaPorte Road in Mokena. The fair will run from 10:00a.m. until 12:00 noon. It is free and open to the public. This year the fair will feature a mobile unit from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

“I encourage senior citizens to come to the fair and learn about the businesses, state and local agencies, and non-for-profits that work to improve their lives,” said Rep. McDermed. “This year the fair will not only help seniors and their caregivers, but all 37th district residents who want convenient, local access to a DMV office.”

At the fair, residents and their caregivers can glean valuable information and access resources from state and local vendors. Staff from Rep. McDermed’s district office will also be available to assist constituents with any state government concerns. 

In addition, the Secretary of State’s office will be operating a mobile unit at the fair. The mobile unit operates similar to a DMV office and offers services that include drivers’ licenses renewals, identification cards, vision and written tests, organ donor registration, voter registration applications, and vehicle and license plate renewal stickers. While the senior fair will end at noon, the mobile unit will continue to run until 1pm.

What: Senior Fair and SOS Mobile Unit
When: Thursday August 16th, 10:00am-12:00pm
Where: Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center, 10847 W La Porte Road, Mokena

Refreshments will be provided and attendees will have the chance to win door prizes. For more information on the event, call Rep. McDermed’s office at (815) 277-2079.