State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has been appointed by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin to the Commission to Reform Child Care. The commission, which was created by House Resolution 254 unanimously adopted in April, will address the burden of childcare on low income families. The goal of the commission is to help ensure that there are simple and fair systems to provide quality child care that is affordable for families. The commission's report is due on September 1st. 
While Illinois faces $5 billion in unpaid bills and struggles to find the resources to pay for vital services, Legislative Democrats are again thwarting attempts to reject an automatic legislative pay raise that was enacted July 1st of this year.

On Tuesday, Illinois House Republicans, again, requested the immediate release from the House Rules Committee, a bill (HB 4225) that would prohibit 2% cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for State government legislative and executive elected officers and appointees for the FY2015 budget.

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Frankfort, IL…  Area residents are encouraged to sign-up to donate blood at an upcoming Blood Drive to be held at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort on Thursday August 6th from 4:30-7:00pm. The Blood Drive is sponsored by State Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) with the Heartland Blood Center. Those interested in donating blood should call Rep. McDermed’s office to schedule an appointment at (815) 277-2079 or visit heartlandbc.org.

Donors are required to be in good general health and feeling well, be at least 17-years-old (or 16-years-old with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional weight requirements apply for donors 18-years-old and younger and all high school donors. Healthy means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, healthy also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.

Heartland works with 63 Illinois hospitals and has a commitment that all the blood they collect will go to local area hospitals. More than 500 donations are needed daily to save patient lives and donating one unit of blood can help save up to 3 lives.

“Blood donation is quick, easy and, saves countless lives in our community each year,” Rep. McDermed said. “I encourage local residents to sign-up today to come out for a great cause, donate some blood, and have a good time.”
Everyone who donates will receive a $5 Target gift card. Free food, refreshments, and music will also be provided.


HB303
        I’m thrilled to say that my bill HB303, amending the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to ban confidentiality agreements in severance agreements funded in part or in whole with taxpayer funds, has passed both chambers overwhelmingly. Runaway severance agreements have made the news in the last few years with scandals at Metra and the College of DuPage. Taxpayers should be entitled to see how and why their money is being spent. I will continue to fight for government transparency and accountability through legislation like this. Senator Althoff carried the bill through the Senate and it will soon be sent to the governor.
Budget Update
        No deal has been made so the government remains in a partial shutdown. Instead of working to fix the unbalanced budget or avert a government shutdown, legislators have spent what few days we’ve been called down to Springfield listening to hours upon hours of testimony instead of substantive debate on the unbalanced budget and the governor’s issues. Last Thursday, Democrats pushed an unbalanced temporary budget that essentially took the 12-month problematic budget and cut it down to 1/12th. That bill, which expires August 1st, funds certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year while also ignoring other crucial services. The bill gained the needed 71 votes, but still needs to be approved by the Senate before it will be sent to the governor who has stated he will veto it.
        The governor addressed reporters last Wednesday and said that he would be resubmitting his 5 ‘Turnaround Agenda’ proposals with some revisions based on debate in recent weeks. Proposals for independent maps and term limits were resubmitted in the same language as in May because those issues have not been addressed at all by the House. The governor continues to ask for just a few reforms to change the way the state does business and to help expand the tax base before asking Illinoisans for another tax increase to fund the Democrat’s out of balance budget.
Governor’s Introduces New Pension Proposal
        Governor Rauner also unveiled a new omnibus pension proposal last week that took input from Mayor Emanuel, Cook County Board President Preckwinkle, and Senate President Cullerton. The state of Illinois and the city of Chicago face crushing debt pension obligations and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled this year that the 2013 pension relief proposal was unconstitutional. The court ruled that public workers have an iron clad protection in the state constitution that prevents their pension benefits from being reduced. This year Illinois will put around $6.7 billion towards its pension obligations and around another $2.2 billion towards its debt, leaving significantly less money to be spent on state services.
        Working around the state constitution, Rauner’s proposal includes President Cullerton’s idea to give public workers a choice between cost-of-living adjustment retirement increases or having future wage hikes count toward pensions. The bill would also give Illinois' local governments a route to Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy following an evaluation by a third party or the declaration of a fiscal emergency and includes a much sought after city-owned Chicago casino with all of the revenues devoted. exclusively to shoring up Chicago police and fire pensions. Those pension systems are due payments of over $600 million dollars each next year.
State Employee Pay Update
        On Monday June 29th the governor released a letter to all state employees that he would be pursuing any and all legal options to ensure that they get paid. His office will be looking to use the 2007 budget impasse as precedent to ensure they get paid in full and on time. Speaker Madigan and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are insisting that paychecks may be delayed if the government continues to be shutdown. Conflicting court opinions and appeals since then from Cook County and St Clair County where the issue is being debated have left the issue still in limbo. In the meantime, should it become necessary, the State Treasurer’s office and Credit Union 1 have announced that they will be offering no interest loans to state employees to get through the shutdown.
        Many Republicans, including myself, have asked the State Comptroller to withhold our paychecks if state workers can’t get theirs. Thanks to a bill passed last year by the Democrat majority, legislator pay is classified as a continuing appropriation — a budget item that state law mandates be funded even in the event of a government shutdown. The bill puts compensating part-time legislators on par with the state’s big-ticket items such as debt and pension payments and retiree health benefits.
         Republicans have filed HB4245 to add state employees to the list of continuing appropriations for this year. It is only fair that if we are asking for state employees to continue to work they should be paid in full and on time. On Thursday, Representative Davidsmeyer, the sponsor of the bill, called for it to be heard and debated on the floor, but was denied his motion.
Mark your calendars!
Blood Drive
        Blood banks often see a shortage during the summer so I’ll be hosting a blood drive on Thursday August 6th from 4:30-7:30pm in the parking lot of my office at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort. There will be free food and drinks plus health screenings and information. Come out and help save a life by donating just a little bit of blood and time.

Senior Tech Workshop
        We live in an amazing age of technology where our phones have more computing power than the systems that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. Keeping up can be difficult, however, especially for older generations. So together with AT&T, we’re having a senior tech workshop where you can learn about smartphones, apps to help manage your health and prescriptions, and how you can utilize technology to help better keep in touch with loved ones. The event is on August 4th from 10-11am at the New Lenox Senior Housing Complex, 1090 S Cedar Road. Space is limited so please call (815) 277-2079 or email my office at mcdermed@ilhousegop.org to register.
Frankfort, IL… Putting her money where her mouth is, Representative McDermed’s pledge to help bring the state’s finances in order received a small boost when she returned the remains of her district budget to the state. This is on top of the Representative’s refusal to accept state health and pension benefits when she was sworn in back in January of this year.

“When the full budget deals in grand numbers like billions of dollars and it’s not your money, office expenditures can seem like nothing and money can fall through the cracks” Rep McDermed said. “That adds up. If we took greater care with the money the state’s taxpayers entrust to us, maybe we could see a way out of this hole. I fully recognize that this is just a pittance in a very large budget hole, but I’m committed to helping Illinois bring its spending in order and that starts at home.”  

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Springfield, IL…. A bill addressing runaway severance agreements funded with taxpayer money has received an overwhelming stamp of approval from both chambers, passing out of the Senate unanimously on Wednesday. House Bill 303, sponsored by State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), bans efforts by public entities in Illinois to hide severance agreements  from scrutiny by the public. 

“Given all that has come to light about the financial mismanagement at the college of DuPage, and other government institutions, public trust has eroded” Rep McDermed said. “Taxpayers have the absolute right to know how their money is being spent, especially when that money accompanies the departure of a government employee.”

Allowing taxpayers to obtain severance agreements under the Freedom of Information Act was formerly championed by retired Representative Kosel in response to an egregious severance payment of $700,000 to former Metra CEO Alex Clifford. Her bill died in the Senate. Representative McDermed picked up the torch and the initiative received new life when it came to light that a $763,000 severance agreement was provided to outgoing President Robert Breuder at the embattled College of DuPage.