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Frankfort, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is hosting a town hall next month in Frankfort. The townhall will be focused on transportation issues and include a discussion of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s plans for the 37th district. This will be the first of several townhalls Rep. McDermed will host over the course of the year. She will be available to hear from constituents on all issues, but each townhall will focus on a particular topic.

“The 37th district is an important transportation crossroads between Chicago and the rest of the State,” said Rep. McDermed. “I want residents to have this opportunity to talk with me about their local and state transportation concerns.”

Rep. McDermed is the House minority spokesperson on the Transportation; Regulation, Roads, and Bridges Committee. The townhall will be held on Tuesday, April 18th at 6:30pm in the old, blue Frankfort Township Building, 11008 W Lincoln Hwy.
From the Chicago Tribune:

During construction season, it's not unusual to find dump trucks lined up at Will County's nine quarry sites that accept so-called clean construction debris. Dumping into retired or underused quarries has long been a subject of concern. The quarries aren't lined to protect groundwater, and they aren't regulated as heavily as landfills that accept garbage.
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...Bills sponsored by state Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, and Emily McAsey, D-Lockport, are sitting in a House subcommittee where they are likely to remain. McDermed says the committee chairman, Rep. Daniel Beiser, D-Alton, believes current regulations of quarries go far enough.

...McDermed says Illinois can't expect the industry to regulate itself, so groundwater monitoring is crucial: "A system that says we're going to take the word of the person who runs it that it's clean construction debris because of some random checks by eyesight, that is not a system," she says.
Legislation Passes House
            House Bill 528, legislation I filed to create the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission unanimously passed the House. By making the evidence collection and testing process more transparent we can decrease the likelihood of error, lessen the rape kit backlog at the state police, and hopefully bring more offenders to justice.
           Under current law, the Secretary of State must publish and mail to every household a proposed Constitutional Amendment, the explanation of the amendment, the arguments for and against the amendment, and the form in which the amendment will appear on the ballot. House Bill 348 is a cost saving measure (about $1.3 million per amendment) that removes this requirement and instead only requires that the information be posted on a website controlled by the Secretary of State. Newspaper notices about the constitutional amendment would still be required.
New Pension Proposal
          Last June, Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders agreed the state would pay for one year of CPS’ teacher pensions if lawmakers passed vital statewide pension reform. No pension proposal was sent to the governor and so he vetoed the separate Chicago pension pickup bill. CPS has moved to cut costs after the veto by furloughing employees and freezing school budgets but say that it could be forced to cut summer school and shorten the school year by about three weeks if the state doesn’t intervene. After a highly publicized meeting with Chance the Rapper, the Governor offered two paths to help CPS fill its budget hole: a legislative proposal or through city TIF funds. Senators Connelly and Tracy last week introduced legislation supported by the Governor that would give $215 million to CPS for its teacher pensions in exchange for reforms to the state’s public pensions. Critics to the proposal say that it is unfair to trade a one year deal for Chicago in exchange for permanent pension reform. 
Image result for sexual assault kitsSpringfield, IL… Working together with the Illinois State Police, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has successfully pushed forward a bill to improve the processing and review of sexual assault evidence. House Bill 528 requires the State to create and operate a statewide sexual assault evidence kit tracking system.

“It’s important that we not only implement a tracking system in Illinois, but we make sure we get it right,” Rep. McDermed said. “A critical part of ensuring justice for victims of sexual assault is these evidence kits. The long, arduous process of testing can be disheartening for victims, especially when they don’t know the status of their case.”

The bill creates the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission, a group that will work to create the tracking system and develop guidelines for sexual assault evidence tracking. The bill will bring together relevant actors from the state police, testing labs, local law enforcement, the court system, hospitals, and victim’s rights groups to discuss how to handle transfers of evidence, testing, payment for testing, and other important factors. The commission will also make sure that the courts, testing labs, and law enforcement are all adequately communicating with each other so that evidence does not get lost or end up creating a backlog crisis. HB 528 is modeled off of similar, successful legislation in Michigan.

“By making the process more transparent we can decrease the likelihood of error, lessen the rape kit backlog at the state police, and hopefully bring more offenders to justice,” Rep. McDermed continued.

HB 528 was unanimously voted out of the House Committee on Human Services and will next be considered in a full vote on the House floor. 

Grand Bargain
The topic on everyone’s mind in Springfield continues to be the budget. The Senate, not in session last week, is scheduled to take votes this week on the bills that compose the “grand bargain”.  It will then be up to the House if this effort is to move forward. The House has thus far made no efforts to throw its hat in to the budget ring. No House Appropriations committees have met and expected state revenues, a jumping off point for appropriating money, have not been discussed. 

AFSCME Moves Closer to Strike
AFSCME, which represents 38,000 Illinois state government employees, stated that 81% of the workers who participated in a recent advisory ballot voted to authorize a possible strike. Around 28,000 members were eligible to participate in the authorization vote; most of the other workers are employed in jobs at state prisons and juvenile facilities and are prevented by law from striking.

Frankfort, IL... State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to announce her first annual art contest for the 37th district. 
Image result for art“This is a great way to showcase the student talent from across the 37th district and winners will have their art displayed in my Capitol office,” said McDermed. “I anticipate many beautiful entries and am looking forward to making this an annual competition.”

Students who are in 6th grade through high school seniors will compete by drawing or painting a picture that resembles their community.  This can feature their school, church, home or a nature scene.  Entries will be judged on beauty, uniqueness and fulfilled intent. A drawing or painting from one middle schooler and one high schooler from throughout the district will be selected. 

Entries will be accepted by local schools as well as at Rep. McDermed’s office at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort. The deadline for the district wide student art contest is April 26th.