Frankfort, IL... A group of sixteen House Republican legislators are calling on State Comptroller Susana Mendoza to keep her promise of maintaining former Comptroller Leslie Munger’s policy of “No Budget No Pay’ in place with regard to payment of state lawmaker salaries.  Twelve State Representatives and four State Senators sent a letter to Comptroller Mendoza today urging her to defend “No Budget No Pay” in the face of a lawsuit filed by six House Democrat legislators on December 2 suing the Comptroller for delaying payment of their salaries.

“Social service providers and many others who rely upon the state to meet its financial obligations are being adversely impacted, to put it mildly, by the General Assembly’s failure to pass a comprehensive budget,” Rep. McDermed said. “We are calling on the new Comptroller to stand with us in support of the individuals and families whose lives are being irreparably harmed due to the lack of stability in our budget.”

“We do not believe that payment of legislator salaries should be prioritized over the funding of health care and social service providers or others enduring the long delay in state payments,” Rep. Batinick added. “The principle of “No Budget No Pay” should be kept in place; and the General Assembly should come together immediately to pass a responsible state budget in order to prevent further erosion of our social safety net and damage to our economy.”

Click here to read the letter that was sent to Comptroller Mendoza.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) operates an up-to-date map of road conditions throughout the state. For more information on how to drive safely in Illinois this winter, click here.
Frankfort, IL… Recognizing a need in the community, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) announces a holiday diaper drive beginning Monday to address the insufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry, and healthy. Donations will be collected at three locations and will benefit Journey, a local non-profit organization that helps struggling young women. 

“It’s the season of giving and in lieu of a food or clothing drive, I wanted to bring attention to an under-served, but still very important, need in our community,” Rep McDermed said. “Most people don’t realize that government assistance programs, like food stamps, don’t cover diapers. I am asking residents to share their good fortune this season and help others who are struggling.”

In Illinois 52% of births are covered by Medicaid and 23% of families live below the poverty line. However, there are no government subsidies to help purchase diapers and wipes, products which are taxed at the highest sales tax rate. Diapers and other items will be collected at Rep. McDermed’s state office, as well as two other locations.

What: Diapers, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream 
Where: Rep. McDermed's office at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy, Frankfort
New Lenox Village Hall at 1 Veterans Pkwy, New Lenox
Frankfort Township Offices at 11000 W Lincoln Hwy, Frankfort
When: November 21st to December 22nd

           With the election behind us, the focus of the General Assembly now turns to the veto session, which begins today. 
           In a statement after the election, Governor Rauner encouraged people to put the campaign rhetoric behind them and come together. He called a meeting of the legislative leaders for yesterday to restart discussions about the many state issues as the fall veto session is scheduled to begin. Speaker Madigan didn’t attend, citing an unspecified schedule conflict. Senate President Cullerton pulled out of the meeting shortly thereafter, but indicated he would be available for a meeting today. Time will tell if the Democrat leaders are serious about addressing the needs of the state. 

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
Frankfort, IL…  Area residents are encouraged to sign-up to donate blood at an upcoming drive to be held at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort on Thursday August 25th  from 4:30-7:00pm. The event is being sponsored by State Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) together with Heartland Blood Centers. Those interested in donating blood should call Rep. McDermed’s office to schedule an appointment at (815) 277-2079 or visit

Heartland works with 63 Illinois hospitals and has a commitment that all theblood 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. “Blood donations drop off significantly over the summer, I encourage local residents to sign-up today to come out for a great, much needed cause.”

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. Everyone who donates will receive a free t-shirt.

Please call Rep. McDermed’s office with any questions or to schedule an appointment at (815) 277-2079.

Upcoming Blood Drive
       Blood banks across the state see a precipitous drop in donations over the summer. So I’m partnering with Heartland Blood Centers to host a blood drive on Wednesday August 25 from 3:30-7:30pm in the parking lot of my office (11032 W Lincoln HWY, Frankfort). Every donation helps to save lives. Please call my office at (815) 277-2079 or email me to schedule your donation appointment.

Flurry of Bills Signed
       The Governor has been busy signing in to law multiple bills that we in the General Assembly passed in the spring including:
       SB2343, the new Citizen Privacy Protection Act limits the use of the widely-discussed transmitter called “Stingray,” which has been extensively marketed to police forces.  Stingray transmitters broadcast a signal that looks like a cell site.  The phony ‘repeater’ is treated as a friend by all of the cellphones within electronic earshot, and the devices promptly share the phone’s location and who it is talking to or texting at the time. 
National Night Out- an event to foster good relationships
between neighbors and with the local police

Seniors came out to peruse local vendors and state agencies at
Rep. McDermed's annual Senior Fair
Women attend a self defense seminar taught by One Light

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino has failed to file amended campaign reports by a deadline set by the Illinois State Board of Elections. The deadline was on Monday night. After it was revealed late last year that there were several suspicious payments in former State Rep. Mautino's campaign expense filings, ISBE opened an investigation and several lawmakers, including State Representative McDermed sent repeated requests to his office for more information. So far Mautino's office has not been forthcoming in responding to requests from any parties. Mautino's office has cited a separate ongoing federal investigation as a reason for it's refusal to provide more information to either ISBE or state legislators.

Mautino was given the Monday deadline to turn in amended campaign expenditure filings. At the heart of the issue is hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to a single car service station and bank over the course of his tenure in the Statehouse. The next step will be for ISBE to schedule a date for a public hearing which may subpoena the auditor or his previous campaign staff.

Recently, Rep. McDermed joined with other legislators and filed HJR 158 to remove Auditor General Mautino from office. Mautino was a State Representative for 24 years before he was appointed auditor general last fall. Rep. McDermed was one of ten General Assembly members that did not vote to approve Mautino's appointment to the position.
The heat index is expected to soar this week and so will the need for places to keep cool.

As part of his Keep Cool Illinois campaign, Governor Rauner has made over 120 state facilities available as cooling centers. The cooling centers will provide Illinoisans a place to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days.

In 1995, 739 people died in Chicago during the deadliest stretch of heat ever recorded. Please share this information with those who do not have air conditioning and need a place to stay cool.

Cooling Centers
Find a cooling center near you by clicking here.

Additionally, Tollway Oasis locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Department of Human Services cooling centers are open during normal business hours from 8:30AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.
Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. 

Stopgap Budget Alleviates Pressure
       Since the end of scheduled spring session, and in the absence of a state budget, working groups had been focused on K-12 education funding and a stopgap budget to fund state operations until after November elections. The main sticking point was Chicago school funding with the Senate Democrats going so far as to propose sending what would have amounted to nearly $800 million dollars to help out the dysfunctional school system. 
       General Assembly leaders and the Governor met for longer than ever before on Tuesday and Wednesday to come to some sort of middle ground. The resulting agreement was brought to the floor for a vote on June 30th, the end of FY16. House Democrats almost derailed and extorted the process by changing the terms of the deal at the last minute. After passing the Chicago components of the agreement, the main spending portion, SB 2047, was held up when an amendment was added to spend an additional $10 million towards minority teacher education. Eventually, a final amendment restored the original deal and brought a sense of trust back to the process.

Springfield, IL...The House and Senate today passed a stopgap funding plan meant to serve as a bridge to a more comprehensive balanced budget for FY17. SB2047 provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction, federal programs and other non-GRF programs for both fiscal years 2016 and 2017. In addition, GRF money is appropriated to cover utilities, food and medical services at state prisons, mental health centers, veterans’ homes and other 24 hour care facilities as well as critical human services not being paid under consent decrees or court order and continued operations of other key state government services.

State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) issued the following statement after the passage of the bill:

“Intense pressure from the public finally brought the Democrat leadership, previously deaf to the outcry from the Illinois citizens, to the negotiating table. The legislation passed today will give peace of mind to parents and students and the stopgap funding plan will serve as a bridge to a comprehensive balanced budget for fiscal year 2017. Significantly, this plan does not count on enactment of a tax hike. With this bipartisan agreement, like others before it, we’ve proven that good faith negotiations are possible if both sides are committed and serious about acting in the best interests of the state. Using this framework and momentum we should continue to work together to forge a full and balanced state budget.”
To read Rep. McDermed's recap of the spring legislative session, click here.
The General Assembly adjourned on May 31st without a State budget. Since then session has been cancelled by Speaker Madigan three weeks in a row. Without appropriations from the State, many schools are in danger of not opening this fall. In May Republicans filed House Bill 6583 a clean, standalone education funding bill that increases school funding by $240 million dollars. Speaker Madigan has refused to release the bill from the Rules Committee. 

For more information on the bill, click here.

Sign the petition to demand a vote on HB6583 here

Regularly scheduled spring session ended on May 31st, but the State of Illinois remains in an unprecedented financial situation. We return to Springfield this Wednesday. 

Still No Budget
        As I’m sure you know by now Speaker Madigan attempted to pass a spending plan that spent $40 billion dollars.  This is the largest spending plan or “budget” in Illinois history and, because it did have attached revenues, would have doubled the state’s backlog of unpaid bills which currently sits at around $7 billion. To pay for such a large increase in spending would have required us to raise the income tax to 5.5%. Legislators had to vote on the 500 page bill just a few hours after it was filed. It passed the House, but then the bill sat in the Senate for several days. On 10pm the night we were scheduled to end spring session it was finally brought to a vote and lost with only 17 of 59 senators supporting it. As a result, despite session going very late in to the night on May 31st, we finished without a budget.
Chicago, IL... State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) joined other lawmakers in calling for Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to voluntarily take a leave of absence while investigations persist into campaign expenditures and reporting procedures from his time as State Representative. 

Twenty one legislators signed a letter sent to the Auditor General's office on June 2nd stating their concerns for the integrity of office operations while the leader is under state and federal investigation. The office of the Auditor General is responsible for auditing State funds to ensure that State agencies are accountable and taxpayer funds are not being misspent.

Suspicious campaign spending practices came to light late last year and previous letters from legislators requesting more information on the matter have gone unanswered. Auditor General Mautino, who took over the office in January, is currently under investigation from both the State Election Board and federal authorities. The latest letter asks that, for the sake of clean government, he step aside until the investigations are concluded. 
Responding to the end of scheduled legislative spring session, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) released the following statement:

"It is unbelievable and incredibly disappointing that after months of spring session we have arrived at this point. We had plenty of time to work together to fix the downward trajectory of our great State and yet the General Assembly has no budget or anything substantial to show for it. This unprecedented situation proves more than ever that the Springfield way of doing things is broken. Every legislator is going to go home to their districts and think long and hard about where we go from here. We swore an oath to do right by our State Constitution and our constituents. We must move forward together to forge the elements of balanced budget and reforms that will put this State back on the right path to fiscal sanity and certainty."
Illinois is heading toward a second year without a state budget, putting some schools and colleges in jeopardy of closing and all but ensuring more social services and state programs will be cut amid a legislative standoff unlike anything the state has ever seen.

With the Legislature set to adjourn its spring session Tuesday night, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and majority Democrats remain deadlocked over a spending plan and business-friendly laws Rauner has made a condition of any budget deal.

The state already has gone almost a full fiscal year without a budget. Democrats on Tuesday could give final approval to a spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, but Rauner has said he'll veto it because the measure spends about $7 billion more than Illinois is expected to take in without addressing additional revenues. Rauner instead is making a last-ditch effort to pass a short-term spending bill and provide money for schools -- an idea he opposed and some Democrats were pushing just days ago.

Read more from the Daily Herald.
From the Caucus Blog:
During the House floor debate on Friday, with only 4 days left in the regular session, Rep. Ron Sandack called on all legislators in the House to stand up if they are willing to stay the weekend and work on a compromise, comprehensive and balanced budget.

Rep. Mike Tryon reminded the body that the role of the minority is to challenge the majority and to keep them to task. He urged them to stay and continue the job of the working groups.

With just a few days left in the legislative session, Republicans urge Democrats to continue the efforts to find compromise and end the budget impasse.
Springfield, IL...State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) released the statement below following the House's passage of Senate Bill 2048, a $40 billion dollar State budget:

"If there was ever any proof that Speaker Madigan isn’t interested in compromise or fiscal responsibility, look no further than what happened in Springfield today and yesterday. After a horrendous show of disrespect to the democratic process last night the House today approved an over 500 page “budget”. To call it a budget would be a falsehood; it is a spending plan that would drive up taxes by $7 billion dollars and drive out Illinois citizens. I’m not sure what kind of fantasy land Speaker Madigan is living in, but the General Assembly needs to get serious about working together and fixing this State’s fiscal mess before it’s too late."
My office will be closed next Monday for Memorial Day. Spring session is scheduled to conclude at next Tuesday, but it remains to be seen whether that will be the case, or if like last year, we will remain in session throughout the summer.

New State IDs
       In an effort to comply with new federal standards resulting from the REAL ID Act of 2005, Secretary of State Jesse White announced changes to Illinois State ID’s and driver’s licenses. These new changes include security features that will help protect citizens from fraud and identity theft. With these changes we do not fully comply with the federal law, but we are a significant step closer. Click here for more information on the changes being implemented and what you need to know.
Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has filed legislation to ensure that there is better accountability and transparency at public research facilities that use dogs or cats. House Bill 6580 creates the Higher Education Research of Dogs or Cats Reporting Requirement Act. It requires higher education research facilities that receive public funds to submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly beginning in 2017. Any facilities that don’t provide a report by March 1 of each year will receive a daily penalty; fines that will be deposited into the General Revenue fund.

“Recently in attempting to pass legislation to help make sure these dogs and cats get a second chance at life after being used in research, I hit roadblocks getting important information from public facilities and that’s unacceptable,” Rep. McDermed said. “This bill reflects my commitment to transparency in all aspects of government and the use of taxpayer funds.”

The report will include information on the rationale of the use of dogs and cats for research purposes and descriptions of the humane treatment practices being used. Public research facilities must also submit financial information relating to the research projects, including the identities of any external funding sources.

“With this bill I also want to make sure that in the noble pursuit of progress we are treating these animals as humanely as possible,” Rep McDermed continued.

House Bill 6580 has been filed and is awaiting committee assignment.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office announced new changes to Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards designed to protect against identity theft and to bring Illinois into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. The enhanced security features will include a new photo structure, a design that includes patterns, lines and images to make it more difficult to counterfeit, a laser perforation and an ultraviolet feature.

There’s no need to replace your driver’s license or ID card immediately, but there are a few changes to the process you should be aware of when it comes time to renew your license or ID. 

The transition will take place in phases. Beginning immediately, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver's license with the upgraded security features. Beginning in late June 2016, through a gradual rollout, DMV’s throughout the state will implement the new process. By the end of July 2016, all DMV’s will have transitioned to the new process.

Click here for a step by step guide to the new process.

Click here for more information on the changes.

On the House floor, Rep McDermed spoke on House Resolution 1044. The resolution honors the memory of Olivia Kresach, who passed away two years ago from brain cancer, and recognizes May 17, 2016 as Gray Day in the State of Illinois.

There are just 13 scheduled session days before the General Assembly is to adjourn for the summer. 

Human Services Stopgap
            The House and Senate approved $700 million dollars in emergency appropriations to various human service providers and community based programs. The bill, SB 2038, uses no General Revenue Fund money, instead relying on the over $400 million in the Commitment to Human Services Fund and the rest from a variety of other smaller state funds. Since the bill is fully funded, groups will receive their money almost soon as the Governor signs the bill, instead of being added to the back of the line of a growing list of unpaid bills. Agencies and groups appropriated include programs to help support mental health, homelessness, families of persons with developmental disabilities, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday!

Constitutional Amendment Deadline Passes
         Saturday was the cutoff date for constitutional amendment proposals to pass the General Assembly for the November ballot. Of the 59 House proposals, only one constitutional amendment question, to protect road funds from being used for other purposes, will be seen this fall. If approved by the voters in November, this amendment will put all revenues from transportation taxes and fees into a “lockbox” that can only be used for road construction and repair, enforcing traffic laws, and paying off transit-related debt.  HJRCA 36 was a response to the lack of a balanced budget and concerns that money from this fund could be swept to pay for General Revenue Fund expenditures.
State Representative Margo McDermed and 19 other members of the General Assembly have sent a third letter to Auditor General Mautino calling on him to explain questionable campaign fund expenditures from his time as State Representative. Lawmakers are asking that Mautino answer questions raised by dubious vehicle repair and maintenance expenditures, including $214,000 to a single service station over a 10 year period. The accounting and spending irregularities from Mautino's campaign fund were first reported on by the Better Government Association and other government watchdog groups back in January. 

Rep. McDermed was one of only 10 House members who voted against former State Representative Mautino's appointment as Auditor General last fall. 

You can read the letter sent to Mautino's office here.