When the new year begins on January 1, 2019 a number of new laws that were passed in the General Assembly this past year will take effect. These include bills for small technical corrections as well as legislation that will have a significant impact statewide. Below are just a few of the new laws that will be on the books:

Cancer patient fertility preservation 
(Public Act 100-1102, House Bill 2617)
This Act requires Illinois insurance providers to cover fertility preservation for cancer patients or any other patient who undergoes a necessary medical treatment that directly or indirectly causes iatrogenic infertility.

Emergency Opioid and Addiction Treatment Access Act 
(Public Act 100-1023, Senate Bill 682)
This new act will serve as a key component to address Illinois’ opioid crisis by providing people in need immediate access to outpatient treatment. Currently, individuals experiencing an opioid overdose or reaction must wait for their treatment to be approved by their insurance plan before entering a facility. The legislation removes prior authorization barriers so people do not have to wait for treatment. In the event the insurance company denies treatment, the law requires the insurance plan to cover outpatient treatment for 72 hours while the patient challenges the denial.

Increased inmate access to visitors
(Public Act 100-677, House Bill 4741)
Under this new law, each committed person will be entitled to seven visits per month. Every committed person may submit to the DOC a list of at least 30 persons who are authorized to visit.

Firearm Restraining Order Act
(Public Act 100-607, House Bill 2354)
The Firearm Restraining Order Act allows for family member or law enforcement to petition the court for an order prohibiting possession of firearms by an individual if they poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or other by possessing a firearm. The order may be issued on an emergency ex parte basis or for 6-months. The Court is required to make specific findings before issuing the order.

253 bills in total will take effect. You can read the rest of the bills here

The Illinois 100th General Assembly will meet briefly on January 7th and 8th before the 101st General Assembly is sworn in on January 9th. The swearing in will be presided over by Governor Rauner, as Governor-Elect Pritzker does not take office until January 14th

HAPPY 200TH BIRTHDAY ILLINOIS!200 years ago on this day in 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the 21st state. At the time, Illinois’ population was mostly concentrated in the southern part of the state (the capital was in Kaskaskia) and only about 35,000. Today Illinois is a sprawling, diverse state with nearly 13 million residents. Over the past two hundred years Illinois has had a rich history of presidents, skyscrapers, world renowned events like the World’s Fair, and world renowned companies like McDonalds. Here’s to many more years of a thriving Illinois that continues to impact the world.

Governor Rauner and Governor-Elect Pritzker are scheduled to make a joint appearance at the State’s birthday party tonight at Navy Pier.

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.
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.

Image result for i80Frankfort, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has been named to the leadership team of the I-80 Coalition.
The I-80 Coalition was launched by the Will County Center for Economic Development earlier this summer and its members are comprised of representatives from government, business and labor. The purpose of the coalition is to fund a public awareness and lobbying campaign to gin up support for needed improvements to I-80. It is in the process of incorporating itself into a nonprofit group.
“We need a plan that recognizes the state and nationwide significance Will County plays in our transportation system; while appreciating that there are local families that live and travel along these roads every day,” Rep. McDermed said. “This is going to be a huge undertaking, one that needs a sustainable funding source. Getting that will take a bipartisan, coordinated effort.”
A Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Study showed that 60 percent of the nation’s freight, roughly valued at $623 billion, moves through the County, much of that on I-80. This poses numerous safety issues and causes significant congestion along the highly trafficked I-80 corridor. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has included important upgrades to I-80 in its latest multi-year plan, but total costs are estimated around $1 billion and there is currently no established mechanism to fund it.
The 37th Legislative District, represented by Rep. McDermed, comprises a significant portion of Will County including the stretch of I-80 from Tinley Park to New Lenox. In the General Assembly Rep. McDermed is the Republican Spokesperson for the Transportation: Regulation, Roads, and Bridges Committee and sits on all four subcommittees.
New Laws
Summer is the primary time for the Governor to take action on the bills that are sent to him by the General Assembly. Below are just a few of the bills that have been signed in to law over the past few weeks:

SB 2270- authorizes law enforcement to temporarily take custody of a dog or cat if the animal is exposed to extreme temperature conditions for an extended time. The new law will apply to animals trapped in hot motor vehicles and also to those forced to stay outdoors in conditions of extreme cold.

HB 4745- amends Illinois’ procurement law so that it no longer applies to contracts for services, information technology purchases, commodities, and equipment to support the delivery of timely newborn screening services provided by IDPH. A 2007 state law added Krabbe’s Disease to the newborn screening panel, but by 2017 it had still not been implemented. 5 Illinois children died of the disease in the interim. IDPH testified before a House committee that the nearly two year procurement process for new equipment was partly to blame for the delay. Another new law, SB 456, adds Spinal Muscular Dystrophy to the newborn screening panel by 2020.
Frankfort, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), together with One Light Self Defense, is again hosting a free workshop for women and girls. The 3 hour course will help them learn avoidance tactics, self-defense misconceptions, offensive techniques and defensive escapes. The class will be on Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm and will take place in the Frankfort Square Park District building at 7540 W Braemar Lane. 
“The class is open to any and all women and girls over 12, but it will be incredibly beneficial for young women heading off to college or back to school,” Rep. McDermed said. “The instructors at One Light do a great job of teaching a basic understanding of how to avoid becoming a victim of violence and sharing the skills that can be used in the event of an attack. We’ve worked with One Light over the course of numerous classes and the response we get from attendees is always incredibly positive.”

This is the third year that Rep. McDermed is partnering with One Light to offer self-defense classes and the second beginner class offered this year. One Light is a local nonprofit that teaches free courses across Illinois and has traveled to Kenya to teach self-defense skills to young women at risk.

Space is limited and registration is encouraged. While the class is free, donations to One Light are appreciated. 100% of donations go to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, or sexual assault. To learn more about the class or to register, please email mcdermed@ilhousegop.org or call (815)277-2079.

Frankfort, IL… For the fourth year in a row, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to host a Senior Fair full of vendors and helpful information for residents in the 37th district. The event will be on Thursday, August 16th at the Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center located at 10847 W. LaPorte Road in Mokena. The fair will run from 10:00a.m. until 12:00 noon. It is free and open to the public. This year the fair will feature a mobile unit from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

“I encourage senior citizens to come to the fair and learn about the businesses, state and local agencies, and non-for-profits that work to improve their lives,” said Rep. McDermed. “This year the fair will not only help seniors and their caregivers, but all 37th district residents who want convenient, local access to a DMV office.”

At the fair, residents and their caregivers can glean valuable information and access resources from state and local vendors. Staff from Rep. McDermed’s district office will also be available to assist constituents with any state government concerns. 

In addition, the Secretary of State’s office will be operating a mobile unit at the fair. The mobile unit operates similar to a DMV office and offers services that include drivers’ licenses renewals, identification cards, vision and written tests, organ donor registration, voter registration applications, and vehicle and license plate renewal stickers. While the senior fair will end at noon, the mobile unit will continue to run until 1pm.

What: Senior Fair and SOS Mobile Unit
When: Thursday August 16th, 10:00am-12:00pm
Where: Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center, 10847 W La Porte Road, Mokena

Refreshments will be provided and attendees will have the chance to win door prizes. For more information on the event, call Rep. McDermed’s office at (815) 277-2079.
State Representative Margo McDermed has released an end of session “Capitol Update” for her constituents. To save the state money, Rep. McDermed refrained from using taxpayer money to print and mail the report, instead choosing to put together an online version. It is available here.

“It is an honor to serve as State Representative for my communities and I consider it a part of my duty to keep them updated on the things going on in Springfield and around the district,” Rep. McDermed said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done to put Illinois back on the right track, but I won’t stop fighting for the families and people that live in my district.”   

In the ‘Capitol Update’ constituents can expect to find information on the important measures that Rep. McDermed has fought for, an update on bills that may impact you, details on the state budget, and upcoming events in the area hosted by Rep. McDermed.

Rep. McDermed has been the State Representative for the 37th District since 2015. She currently sits on 13 committees and subcommittees including Environment, Mental Health, Elections and Campaign Finance, and the Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committees.  

Frankfort, IL…  For the fourth straight year, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to host a blood drive together with Heartland Blood Centers. The drive will be at Rep. McDermed's office, 11032 W Lincoln Hwy in Frankfort, on Wednesday August 8th  from 3:30-7:30pm. Those interested in donating blood should call Rep. McDermed’s office to schedule an appointment at (815) 277-2079 or visit heartlandbc.org.

“During the summer blood donations routinely drop, endangering lives,” Rep. McDermed said. “Donating is quick, easy, and can help save lives in our community. I encourage local residents to sign-up today to come out for a great cause.” 

Heartland is a local nonprofit that maintains a commitment to send all the blood they collect 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. 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 Chicago Bears blood donation t-shirt.

Please call Rep. McDermed’s office with any questions or to schedule an appointment at (815) 277-2079.
Springfield, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) joined other Republicans this week in filing legislation to compel real property tax system changes from the Illinois General Assembly by instating a sunset for Illinois’ property tax code.
House Bill 5924 creates a deadline of July 1, 2019 for the General Assembly to create a new property tax code that is fair and equitable throughout the entire state of Illinois. If the General Assembly fails to address this by the deadline, the current Illinois property tax code will be immediately removed from state law.
“Property taxes are the most frequently cited reason my constituents have for leaving Illinois,” Rep. McDermed said. “We need to start from scratch and reset the property tax code so that it is fair and isn’t forcing struggling families to flee Illinois.”

Illinois already has the highest effective state and local tax burden in the nation, according to a report by WalletHub. Yet again this year WalletHub ranked Illinois as having the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation and while the Census Bureau reports that the average American household spends $2,197 on property taxes annually, WalletHub reports that in Illinois it’s $4,058 per average household. This burden is often cited as the reason many residents are leaving. The state’s population declined by an estimated 33,700 in 2017, the greatest population loss of any state, and the fourth year in a row that Illinois’ population dropped. Illinois lost the title of 5th largest state to Pennsylvania and will likely lose a congressional seat when the census is taken in 2020.
“For many working families and seniors on fixed incomes, Illinois’ outsized property tax burden has made it increasingly difficult to afford to stay in their homes, especially as home values have stagnated,” Rep. McDermed continued. “Unfortunately, the General Assembly only ever seems to tackle the necessary issues if a crisis is forced upon it. A sunset is necessary to create the impetus for a bipartisan comprehensive solution to Illinois broken property tax system.”

HB 5924 was filed with the House Clerk by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).

Supreme Court Decision to Bring in $$
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair will allow Illinois to collect sales taxes from more out-of-state online retailers. Currently, about 80 percent of out-of-state retailers are already paying sales taxes here. The Wayfair decision and the language written into the Budget Implementation (BIMP) bill for FY19 will help Illinois capture the remaining 20 percent.
The language in the BIMP expands the state’s 6.25 sales tax to out-of-state retailers who do $100,000 or more worth of business annually in Illinois (or 200 or more annual transactions here). If businesses reach that threshold, they are considered to be “maintaining a place of business in this State” and required to collect and remit the taxes. COGFA estimates the tax could bring in $150 million in FY19.

This month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing out the new Medicare cards to residents in Illinois

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This law requires the removal of Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019 and the issuing of new Medicare cards to replace the old ones. This new initiative is to protect against fraud and identity theft. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status and claim status.

The new Medicare card will have a completely different and randomly assigned identifier that will be 11 characters long, containing a mix of numbers and uppercase letters. This is the MBI. CMS is also removing the gender and signature line from the new Medicare card. The MBI is confidential like your SSN and should be protected as personal health information.

If a beneficiary is new to Medicare after April 2018, the beneficiary will receive the new MBI card. CMS has until April 2019 to mail out new cards to all 60 million national Medicaid beneficiaries. Current Medicare cards will be accepted until December 31, 2019, after which only the new MBI card will be accepted.

The new card will not impact current Medicare benefits or status. Beneficiaries are asked to destroy, not throw away, their old Medicare cards once the new one is received.

The Illinois Attorney General's office is warning residents about scams contacting you by email or phone asking you to confirm your Medicare number so they can send you a new card. If you need to update your mailing address you can do so online here or by calling 1-800-772-1213. 

Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) joined other representatives in introducing legislation to protect students around the state from sexual abuse and to create new statewide mandates to ensure accusations against educators are handled properly.
A recent Chicago Tribune investigation found that Chicago Public Schools improperly dealt with investigations into educators accused of sexual abuse or assault and in some cases failed to act. It also found that they conducted inept background checks, which led to the hiring of educators with red flags in their records. In addition, CPS admitted that they do not have a standard protocol for investigating reports of sexual misconduct, which resulted in the significant failures in the way individual schools and the district handled cases of sexual abuse.
“There were failures at every level here; at the individual schools, at the district offices, and in state law,” Rep. McDermed said. “The Tribune’s investigation revealed that yet again victims were ignored and abuses were mishandled. It is an all too common story that has absolutely no place in our schools. It is unacceptable and we need to take action to prevent anything like this from happening again.
House Bill 5914 will require school boards to report all credible cases of sexual assault or abuse by a licensed educator to the State Board of Education, to establish a hearing procedure for student victims, and to ensure that a licensed educator under investigation by the State Superintendent of Education is reassigned to non-classroom duty. The bill mandates that the Illinois State Board of Education must be aware of, and monitor, the process with regards to each individual background check conducted by school districts. It further allows a school district to divulge internal investigative findings and discipline to another school district. Modeled off a Florida law, the bill would also make it a criminal offense for an authority figure to engage in sexual conduct or sexual relations with a student, regardless of age. Under current law, it is not a criminal offense if the student in question is 17 years or older.
As reported in the Tribune: “Athletic coaches are “a particular area of concern,” for CPS. The Tribune found that of the 72 cases in which employees and volunteers were accused of sexually abusing or assaulting students in Chicago Public Schools since 2008, 11 were coaches. Even more had dual roles as teachers and coaches.
Earlier this year, Rep. McDermed filed legislation to strengthen the reporting requirements in Illinois Child Abuse and Neglect Act. Rep. McDermed filed the legislation after news investigations into national athletic programs found that individuals within those organization failed to act when faced with accusations and evidence against coaches and others in power. House Bill 5131 increases the criminal penalty for any person who knowingly violates reporting requirements of abuse or neglect from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. It further states that anyone who does so as part of a cover-up or to protect a person from prosecution commits a Class 3 felony. According to the Tribune, no Chicago school employees have been charged with failing to report sexual abuse allegations to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as required by state law.  
“It’s clear that we are not doing enough to protect our children from predators; whether it is in school or after school at programs where we entrust adults to take care of them,” Rep. McDermed said. “We need stronger state laws and consequences for those that don’t mandatorily report.”
HB 5914 was filed by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills).
Image result for I80New Lenox, IL... State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) is pleased to announce that Will County was awarded $34 million in federal funds for the $43 million dollar project to reduce the bottleneck at the Interstate 80 and Route 30 interchange in New Lenox. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced winners of a new competitive grant program that aims to improve the mobility of freight at the local level. The Illinois Competitive Freight Program seeks to reduce bottlenecks, improve freight-related safety, increase intermodal accessibility to freight corridors and enhance efficiency through the strategic deployment of technology. 

"Illinois' central location makes it a vital transportation hub for the nation, and Will County is at the center of it," Rep. McDermed said. "This new grant is a great opportunity to invest in a project that will not only maintain our state's commitment to that status, but improve the quality of life for residents in the 37th district by improving safety along these highly trafficked corridors."

Though administered by IDOT, the program primarily uses federal funds. IDOT received 46 applications requesting close to $600 million in freight funds. The program only selected about half of the applications and will distribute $240 million in National Highway Freight Program through 2022. The rest will be matched by $90 million in state and private funds. 

"Securing this money took a coordinated effort from stakeholders at the state, county, and local level," Rep. McDermed continued. "Thank you to IDOT and everyone involved in ensuring that this important project to reduce congestion and improve safety has the means to move forward."

Representative McDermed serves on three transportation committees in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Spring session, and the bulk of the legislative work for the year, has concluded. Let’s start with the budget…

After years of contentious end of fiscal year battles over the budget, the FY19 proposed budget passed the House and Senate with relative ease and bipartisan support. The budget’s proponents claim it is “balanced”, but that is primarily because it uses revenues from the considerable tax hike imposed on Illinois families last year and one time revenues available only this year. In addition it relies on $300 million from the sale of the Thompson Center in Chicago, which the state does not yet have the legal authority to do.

The budget also contains frivolous spending like over $180 million siphoned from the “Road Fund” for former President Obama’s Presidential Center in Chicago and $50,000 for one legislative group to attend a national convention.

It also does not include any significant reforms to worker’s compensation, property taxes, or the bloated pension systems. The budget merely continues the status quo and Illinois cannot afford to continue limping by from one budget to the next. People are fleeing this state in droves and the residents that remain are crying out for solutions to corruption, astronomical pension debt, sky high property taxes, and more. Sadly, this budget does nothing to steer Illinois in a better direction. For these reasons, I voted no.

Springfield, IL... Following the passage of a budget by the Illinois House of Representatives, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) released the following statement:
"In my fours years in office, the budget process has been marred by partisan politicking and irresponsible budgeting practices. While the budget passed this year was more bipartisan, it was no less irresponsible and I voted no.
This year’s budget is only “balanced” because it uses revenues from the considerable tax hike imposed on Illinois families last year and one time revenues available only this year. It does not include any significant reforms to worker’s compensation, property taxes, or the bloated pension systems. The budget merely continues the status quo and Illinois cannot afford to continue limping by from one budget to the next. People are fleeing this state in droves and the residents that remain are crying out for solutions to corruption, astronomical pension debt, sky high property taxes, and more. Sadly, this budget does nothing to steer Illinois in a better direction."
The #MeToo movement is creating a platform for women to step forward to tell our stories. But as we harness this moment, we must ensure that the voices of all women, including women of color and immigrant women, are included. Nobody should be left behind. That is why here in Illinois, we enthusiastically support the VOICES Act, Senate Bill 34.

According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the U.S. Department of Justice, 85 percent of domestic violence is perpetrated against women, and 90 percent of rape victims are women. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that one in three women have been victims of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner within their lifetime. However, these crimes go largely unreported. Some three out of four physical assaults and four out of five rapes never get reported to police.

For immigrant women, the problem of underreporting is worse due to language barriers and other anxieties, compounded on top of an already horrifying situation.

The VOICES Act creates a standard for law enforcement so that victims will get consistent support from their local agencies, while eliminating some of the barriers faced by immigrant crime survivors that exacerbate Illinois’ underreporting crisis. The VOICES Act will benefit all of our communities.

We invite our male colleagues/allies to join us in passing the VOICES Act and urging the governor to sign it into law without delay. Time’s up.

State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, D-Cicero
State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena
Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) today voted against the idea of giving legislators more control over income taxes. The Illinois House voted on House Resolution 1025, which supports a constitutional amendment to change Illinois from a flat tax state to a graduated income tax state.

“The idea that we in Springfield should be trusted with regulating and creating all kinds of income tax rates is laughable,” Rep. McDermed said. “After raising taxes last year, it is absurd that we would create a new level of uncertainty for families and businesses by making tax brackets subject to change at the whim of the legislature and Governor from year to year.”

The resolution does not carry any legislative weight. Any changes to Illinois Constitution proposed by the General Assembly must be approved by a vote of three-fifths of the members in each chamber and it must be submitted over 6 months prior to the next election. The deadline to get a proposal on the upcoming November election has passed.

“This is a disingenuous resolution at best specifically targeting the base of certain members,” Rep. McDermed continued. “If the majority party truly felt we needed a graduated income tax they would have proposed an amendment before the time passed this year or when they had super majorities and single party control of the legislative and executive branch for a decade.”  

Months ago, House Republicans filed House Resolutions 891 and 975, to oppose any graduated income tax proposal. Despite having 27 and 50 co-sponsors respectively, the resolutions currently languish in the Rules Committee. The chairwoman of the Rules Committee is Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), the chief sponsor of House Resolution 1025.  

House Resolution 1025 passed, despite bipartisan opposition, 61-52.

The Governor announced a plan today to invest $11.05 billion in the state’s roads and bridges over the next six years, including $2.2 billion of state and federal funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The Illinois Department of Transportation Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program will focus on projects that provide the greatest economic benefit to communities and take advantage of long-term strategies that save money over time.

Based on current funding levels, the FY2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the state. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

One of the plan’s major highlights included $148.4 million for bridge work and other improvements on Interstate 80 through Will County. Other specific projects affecting infrastructure in the 37th district can be found here. The plan in its entirety can be found here

This multiyear plan is the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) first to embrace asset management strategies that commit to smaller repairs avoiding the higher costs of deferred maintenance. Using this approach, IDOT will realize savings over multiple years to eventually invest in other projects throughout the state. The plan also builds upon the latest in data-driven tools to help identify projects that provide the most value to the public while improving quality of life and regional mobility.

Click here to read about the new laws taking effect on June 1st. 

This week is the deadline for Senate Bills to pass the House, a critical deadline as session winds down. We expect to see a number of contentious bills debated on the floor this week. The House and Senate will be in Springfield virtually every day until spring session ends on May 31st.

The third reading deadline in the House has come and gone and we are not in session this week. This deadline serves as the primary end point for voting on bills that originated in the House. When we return next week, we will begin discussion of the bills that passed the Senate.

Blue Collar Jobs Act
House Republicans filed a bill last week supported by both labor and business groups and offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. It does this through the creation of four new tax credits, including:
  • High Impact Business construction jobs credit
  • Enterprise Zone construction jobs credit
  • New Construction EDGE Credit
  • River Edge construction jobs credit
The tax credits are meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings which can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor. The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the State for a company not meeting its requirement as the State has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued.

Springfield, IL… Today State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) unanimously advanced House Bill 4404 to remove unduly burdensome regulations on mortgage loan workers applied by Illinois and only Illinois.
“Illinois’ Residential Mortgage License Act was enacted to protect consumers in residential mortgage loan transactions, but its license requirements lack any distinction for an independent loan processor who merely handles paperwork.” Rep. McDermed said. “We’re putting an unnecessary onus on these workers and consequently discouraging these jobs in Illinois.”
Mortgage loan processors handle clerical paperwork involved in taking out a mortgage and verify wages and employment among other loan indicators. They do not handle the mortgage itself and do not have an incentive to issue or procure mortgages.
After the housing bubble burst in 2008, the U.S. Congress passed the SAFE Act, which required states to increase their regulations on mortgage loans. Illinois’ legislation regulates processors in the same way as mortgage loan brokers. The latter position must meet stringent licensing requirements from IDFPR and has resulted in significant outsourcing of mortgage loan processing work to other states.
Rep. McDermed worked with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office over the course of three years to come to a compromise. HB4404 removes the stricter requirements on processors while still ensuring they are regulated by the IDFPR and supervised by mortgage loan officers.
HB4404 passed the Illinois House of Representatives on a 110-0 vote. It now heads to the Illinois Senate.