Image result for small business saturdayThis Saturday, November 25th is Small Business Saturday. The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest shopping time of the year and this new, unofficial holiday encourages people to shop small and support their local economy. At 99%, small businesses make up an overwhelming majority of the businesses in Illinois and employ an estimated 2.4 million people. Of the roughly 1.2 million small businesses, 311,609 are minority owned. 

Local small businesses can get social media marketing tools here.
Today State Representative Margo McDermed received an appointment to the House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment. She was appointed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. The task force is in charge of conducting a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment, in both the public and private sectors.

"I am glad that legislators have taken swift and strong action in recent weeks to condemn and help fix the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield. It is long overdue," Rep. McDermed said. "As a woman who worked in a male dominated field my entire career, I appreciate the opportunity to be at the forefront of the effort to substantially address this issue."

The task force was created by House Resolution 687, which passed unanimously last week in Springfield. During the final week of veto session the House acted on several measures to address the culture of sexual harassment in Illinois government. The House also unanimously passed a comprehensive measure to amend Illinois' ethics law to include sexual harassment. The task force must submit a report on the best practices to improve procedures for accepting complaints and the prevention of sexual discrimination and harassment in the public and private sector to the General Assembly by the end of next year.
Frankfort, IL… Following up on last year’s incredibly successful drive, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is proud to announce a second holiday diaper drive beginning next Monday. This month long drive will help to address the struggle young, and often single, mothers have in keeping their infant or toddler clean, dry, and healthy. Donations will be collected at Rep. McDermed’s district office and will benefit Journey, a local non-profit organization that helps young women and families in need and Catholic Charities expectant mother program. 
  
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.

“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. As a community, we are measured most by how we take care of those who are down on their luck. I am asking residents to share their good fortune this season and help others who are struggling.”

What: Diapers, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream 
Where: Rep. McDermed's office, 11032 W Lincoln Hwy, Frankfort
When: November 20th to December 20th
Last week the Illinois House met to finish votes on bills vetoed by the Governor. In his first two years in office the governor was only overridden once. This year, including the vetoes of the out-of-balance budget and tax hike from this summer, the General Assembly overrode the Governor 18 times. The House does not meet again until January. 

Vacancy filled, Sexual Harassment Bills Passed
           Amidst the furor over sexual harassment revelations in Springfield recently, glaring holes in the system were brought to light. Sexual harassment is not currently listed as a violation in the Illinois Ethics Act. In addition, the General Assembly has been without a legislative inspector general for over two years. The legislative inspector general is responsible for “investigating complaints of violations of any law, rule or regulation or abuse of authority or other forms of misconduct by members of the General Assembly and state employees under the jurisdiction of the legislature”. This vacancy has left a backlog of at least 27 complaints against members of the General Assembly. Last week the Legislative Ethics Commission voted unanimously to appoint a former federal prosecutor, Julie Porter, as the temporary inspector general. It shouldn’t have taken over 2 years to fill this position, but this is all too common in Springfield. Often real issues aren’t addressed until they reach crisis level or a scandal occurs.
           Legislatively, the House acted on several measures to address the culture of sexual harassment in Illinois government. The House passed a comprehensive measure brought forth by Speaker Madigan to amend Illinois' ethics law. The bill adds sexual harassment to the ethics code and requires that the executive branch, legislative leaders, members of the General Assembly, the auditor general and higher education boards establish procedures for individuals to report allegations of sexual harassment and spell out disciplinary action for violators. Lobbyists also would be required to complete a training program and to develop their own sexual harassment policies. In addition, the House voted to create a Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment.

This Saturday is Veteran's Day. In honor of the occasion and in recognition of their service, State Representative McDermed is sponsoring a flag exchange program to allow veterans to obtain a new flag to fly at their home or business. This opportunity is available while supplies last. The program is free of charge and provided at no cost to taxpayers. 

In addition, residents of the 37th district wishing to turn in an old US flag for proper disposal may bring their used flag to Rep. McDermed's district office. Area residents may bring their flags in for proper disposal, while veterans may receive a new flag even if they do not have one to exchange. 

Rep. McDermed’s District Office is located at 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort and is open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. The office is not open on Friday for Veteran's Day. For further details, call 815-277-2079.
State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Frankfort) today filed House Resolution 678 congratulating a Tinley Park Brewery on their recent industry successes. Hailstorm Brewery was honored in October at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Their Prairie Madness IPA beat out 407 other beers to win the American Style IPA category. It was the single most competitive category in the festival’s history. Hailstorm also won silver in the bock category for Rock Out with Maibock Out.

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"The craft brewery market is exploding in Illinois, which is good for the Illinois economy and for Illinois consumers who have more choices," Rep. McDermed. "Hailstorm is an example of what small businesses can create and accomplish if the State gets out of their way. I congratulate them on their success and look forward to getting a taste of the award winning product myself."

It is estimated that the Illinois craft beer industry directly employs 4,500 people and has a $2.6 billion economic impact across the State. In 2015 Rep. McDermed voted for legislation to allow craft breweries expand their production, to 120,000 barrels of beer per year while operating as many as three retail facilities, such as brewpubs or taprooms. Previous law had limited craft breweries to 30,000 barrels a year, a death knell for the fast growing market in Illinois. This year she voted for legislation amending an antiquated section of the Environmental Protection Act that prevented breweries like Hailstorm from using certain kinds of beer cans. This new method of canning where the entirety of the top portion of the can can be removed to create a full opening at the top of the can is quickly gaining popularity.