Springfield, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has been appointed to serve on a bipartisan special House committee on public private partnerships. The committee was recently created by House Speaker Madigan to review Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to establish a private company that will work with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Governor Rauner earlier this year signed an executive order creating the relationship shortly after the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation was created.

In his announcement, the Governor pointed out that the DCEO is often hampered by red tape and a slow bureaucracy that makes business development and job recruitment more difficult. This new partnership will combine the efficiency of private enterprise with the accountability of a government agency.

 “While I have the utmost faith in the integrity of the partnership Governor Rauner has created and designed, it is a part of our job in the State Legislature to ensure the maintenance of strict accountability when it comes to taxpayer money,” Rep McDermed said. “I welcome the opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner to do just that.”

Modeling itself off of the successes of other states and improving on where they’ve failed, Governor Rauner announced increased transparency measures. The corporation will be subject to periodical audits as well as needing approval from the DCEO for any and all deals made to encourage job growth and opportunity. 
It’s been an exciting few weeks! Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on in Springfield.
McDermed_Obama.pngVideo of the President’s Address

Legislative Update
        February 11th was the deadline to file bills in the House. 1,959 bills have been filed since the start of the new year. You can view the bills I have filed or signed on to as a co-sponsor here. Highlights include a bill banning unfunded mandates during election years, a bill concerning school closings, and a bill to help ensure compliance with the Open Meetings Act. 
In an unprecedented budget address, Governor Rauner has given us the necessary push for the General Assembly to do its job and legislate for the betterment of this state and its future. 

The governor didn't mince words; he admitted it was unacceptable that we are in our 8th month without a budget and called out the poor fiscal policies of the past decades. The state has been in a downward spiral, partially because of the refusal to accept that no decision we make in state government has just a one-year impact. He again pushed back against the myth that structural reforms have nothing to do with our budget. The decisions we make this year will have a profound effect on our finances and on our residents for years to come. We can either work together and compromise on a comprehensive approach to legislate for the next generation or we can abdicate our responsibility to craft a budget by granting the Governor the power to make spending the necessary cuts to balance the budget. No one wants to see this state further fail our most vulnerable with more cuts.

The Governor made it clear that he is ready to act; it's now up to the General Assembly and Speaker Madigan to move forward on this. I along with many of my colleagues stand ready to compromise and push ahead. The Governor has made it clear with the two options he presented that he is serious in his efforts to balance the budget. We in the General Assembly owe it to the State Constitution and the people of Illinois to do the same. 

Due to the budget impasse, Illinois EPA was forced to suspend the mailing of vehicle emissions test notices beginning in December 2015. Vehicle owners whose license plates expire at the end of March 2016 will be the first motorists who will not receive the vehicle emissions test notice.

As a result, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that he will temporarily allow license plate renewals for vehicle owners who have not yet taken the EPA emissions test, citing an unfair burden to Illinois citizens. Motorists may renew their license plates, but will be informed they are still required to get the vehicle tested. White also noted that when Illinois EPA resumes mailing out vehicle emissions test notices to the public, his office will resume regular vehicle registration procedures.

State Representative McDermed recently toured Morraine Valley Community College and shared her insights in to what is happening in Springfield with higher education funding and the budget at large. Pictured in the photo from left: Kam Sanghvi, chief information officer; Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, president; Dr. Margaret Lehner, vice president of Institutional Advancement; Dr. Normah Salleh-Barone, vice president of Student Development; Andrew Duren, executive vice president of Administrative Services.
Springfield, IL… To ensure that public body members have proper knowledge of the Open Meetings Act, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has filed House Bill 4664. The bill disqualifies from further service any elected or appointed public body member who fails to complete training on compliance with the Open Meetings Act within thirty days of receiving notice that they failed to complete training. 

Governor Bruce Rauner today joined Lt. Governor Sanguinetti, legislative leaders and local elected officials to announce four bipartisan pieces of legislation to streamline local government delivering more control to local communities. 

The proposed legislation, based on the recommendations of the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force, includes:

Citizens Empowerment Act: Empowers Illinois citizens and local governments to consolidate duplicative, excessive or unnecessary units of government via referendum. 

DuPage County Consolidation Powers Expansion: Provides that the Local Government Reduction and Efficiency Division of the Counties Code applies to all counties which currently only applies to DuPage County. 

Evanston Township Consolidation Expansion: Extends to all coterminous townships and municipalities the same authority to consolidate that is currently only provided to Evanston. 

Township Consolidation: Removes arbitrary barriers to township consolidation that exist in statute so local residents or units of government can consolidate if they so choose. 

Read more at the Caucus Blog

Springfield, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has filed legislation today to prevent the passage of frivolous unfunded mandates. House Bill 4642 states that the General Assembly shall not approve of any unfunded mandates during a year in which a general election takes place.

“What I’ve noticed during my short time in office is that we pass a lot of feel good legislation that sounds great on the surface and looks good to voters, but in reality creates unintended and troublesome consequences. My hope,” Rep. McDermed said, “is that this bill will prevent legislation that is more of a press piece than meaningful lawmaking.”