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From the Chicago Tribune:
"The Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission, established by law in 2017, finished a proposal this summer to establish a statewide electronic tracking system modeled after similar programs in other states. By better understanding where evidence is, officials hope to give survivors the comfort and confidence that their cases are being taken seriously. Meanwhile, officials say a tracking system could show when and where kits are stalled, and bolster a case for more forensic scientists or other solutions to shorten long turnaround times.
The proposal is the latest in a series of efforts in Illinois to address a decades-long backlog of rape kits by streamlining the processing of evidence.
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Illinois state Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, is working on legislation she hopes to introduce early next year that would mandate a tracking protocol.
“This way, we always know where the kits are and who has them and what their process is,” said McDermed, who is on the commission. “How do you make sure that you keep on track? You have a way to measure.”
With the election in our rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead and get back to doing the work of the people. Veto session is scheduled for six days over the next month beginning next Tuesday. Governor Rauner has vetoed 83 bills, nearly half of which passed with veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers so we may see a significant number of overrides. 53 of those were total vetoes, but the Governor also used his amendatory veto (AV) power to rewrite 30 bills, and 21 of those were passed with enough votes to override. It’s rare for the General Assembly to accept an amendatory veto, mainly because House Speaker Michael Madigan refuses to call them for a vote, instead choosing to ignore any changes made by the Governor in favor of overriding and passing the original bill.

In 2017, the Governor vetoed less legislation, 42 bills, and used the AV on another 10. Fifteen of his total vetoes were overridden last November while just 3 of the AVs were overridden.

Illinois Honor 200
This Sunday is Veterans Day. I hope you take a moment to thank a veteran for their invaluable service. 

Recently, the Bicentennial Commission announced the names of those selected for of the Bicentennial HONOR 200. Illinois residents were asked to submit the names of veterans of the U.S. armed services who are their neighbors and who are key leaders in their local communities. Nominators were asked to describe how these veterans have continued their lives of service as members of their hometowns and neighborhoods. Nominees were evaluated based on their achievements, and on the extent to which their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their community at large.

Mokena, IL … State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is set to offer her final Senior Driving Seminar this year on November 13th. She previously hosted seminars in February, May, and August. Altogether over a hundred seniors have attended thus far. 
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“For good reason the Illinois Secretary of State’s office has additional requirements and measures for senior drivers,” explained Rep. McDermed. “These classes are great for seniors who want to maintain their ability to drive and thus their independence. I invite any and all senior citizens to attend this last course.”  
Hosted in collaboration with the Illinois Secretary of State, this two hour class give senior citizens an opportunity to refresh their memory for the written driving test when renewing their licenses. The seminar is taught by an instructor from the Secretary of State’s Office and includes an extensive overview of the contents of the Rules of the Road booklet and a sample test. It is offered free of charge.

WHAT: Free Senior Driving Seminar 
WHEN: Tuesday, November 13th at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Pipefitters Hall, 10850 W 187th Street, Mokena 

If you have any questions or would like to attend, please RSVP by calling Rep. McDermed’s office at (815) 277-2079.



Upcoming Veto Session 
Governor Rauner signed 529 new laws in the spring and summer of 2018. A total of 612 bills passed both houses; meaning almost 90 percent of them were signed, but 83 bills were vetoed.

Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that the veto must be overridden with three-fifths majorities in both houses in order to become law; and 30 of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which the Governor suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. These changes can be minor or could result in a nearly complete rewrite of the bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by simple majority. However in nearly four years Speaker Madigan has yet to call for a vote on an amendatory veto, instead choosing to attempt to completely override the Governor. 

Both houses will convene in Springfield on the Tuesday following Election Day to consider the Governor's vetoes. All 118 House seats are up for election on November 6th and with a nearly historic amount of State Representatives NOT running for re-election this year, including 13 of the 51 House Republicans, the start of the 101st General Assembly in January will have a dramatically different look than the previous one.
Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and local officials today to announce the start of a $47 million project to rebuild the Interstate 80-U.S. 30 interchange. The new interchange will provide congestion relief, improve safety and enhance traffic flow in a critical freight and jobs corridor for the state.  
 
The Illinois Department of Transportation project will extend a third lane in each direction on I-80 from approximately Interstate 355 through the U.S. 30 interchange. The bridges carrying I-80 over U.S. 30, Metra's Rock Island District Line and Hickory Creek will be rebuilt.
 
The exit and entrance ramps will be realigned to better accommodate higher traffic volumes, while U.S. 30 will be reconstructed through the interchange. Other components of the project include modernized traffic signals, drainage improvements and the extension of a bicycle and pedestrian path along U.S. 30. An earlier project replaced the Old Plank Road Trail bridge over I-80 to accommodate the larger interchange.

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"All of us living along I-80 know its modernization is long overdue," said Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena. "The I-80 corridor through Will County is one of the most heavily trafficked in the country and this project will not only reduce congestion, but also crucially improve the safety of this interchange.
"This project is the direct result of a collaborative effort from stakeholders at every level to secure plans and funding to reduce the hazardous bottleneck created here," she continued. "It is only the first step to improve a critical piece of Illinois infrastructure and I am committed to passing long-term, sustainable funding for Illinois' infrastructure needs."

Read the rest of Governor Rauner's press release on the groundbreaking here
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.