The McDermed Dispatch for August 8th

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. 
       HB5651 will allow motor vehicle owners to “opt out” of any current 12-month annual registration sticker renewal cycles they may be in, and to choose a new sticker based upon their birthday. It will not go into effect until the Secretary of State’s office gives it an official approval and adopts administrative rules to implement the new re-registration policy.            
       SB2601 doubles the fine for drivers who trespass onto a railroad crossing when a warning signal is showing or sounding.
       HB4425 will require the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to inform the Department of Defense and Illinois National Guard if there is any report of child abuse or neglect in a military family.
       HB6010 expands the definition of vehicular endangerment to include objects from a variety of starting points. The original definition of “vehicular endangerment” applied solely to objects falling from highway overpasses, because those are the places from which dropped objects are most dangerous.  However, the law was expanded to include many other locations, including hills, buildings and highway ramps. The crime is a Class 2 felony for which the perpetrator may be sentenced to a term in State prison of 3-7 years.
       SB2288 reduces the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana (less than 10 grams) from a criminal offense to a civil offense. Civil offenses can, under constitutional law, be dealt with by court in a much more summary manner and with a completely different procedure than criminal cases.  Under the new Illinois law, the State fine for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana will be $200. 
Vehicle Registration Reminders Resume
        Secretary of State Jesse White recently announced that his office has reinstated the mailing of vehicle registration reminder notices to Illinois drivers. The Secretary of State’s office discontinued mailing reminders in October 2015 due to the lack of funding as a direct result of the state budget impasse. The stop-gap budget recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor allows White’s office to reinstate the notices. To offset the cost of the mailings, White is drafting legislation allowing his office to offer advertising space on the mailings. Vehicle owners can sign up for email notifications by visiting the Secretary of State website. To register for the program, vehicle owners will need their assigned registration ID and PIN, which can be found on their current vehicle registration card. If that information is not available, they can call the Secretary of State public inquiry division at 800-252-8980 to obtain the Registration ID and PIN.
Redistricting Amendment Push Continues
        The ruling of a Chicago circuit court judge to keep the so called “Independent Map” issue off the ballot for voters this fall has been appealed to the State Supreme Court.  The circuit judge ruled the constitutional amendment petition signed by over half a million voters was unconstitutional even though the petition was written based upon a Supreme Court ruling two years ago.  The judge found that the proposal would have assigned new duties to the State Auditor General and Supreme Court which would violate the constitution’s provision that amendments be limited to just the legislative article. The Supreme Court could rule on the matter before the August 25 deadline to get constitutional amendments on the November ballot.
New Representative Sworn In
        A new lawmaker, Representative David Olsen of Downers Grove, has taken the oath of office.  Local political leaders chose him to replace former Rep. Ron Sandack, who resigned on July 25th.  Olsen, 27, joins the Illinois House after serving on the Downers Grove Village Council.  His fellow aldermen selected him as Mayor Pro Tem in 2015.  He was also elected to the board of trustees of the College of DuPage, where he served as vice chairman.  He has already filed to run in November 2016 for a full term to continue to represent the 81st House District. I look forward to working with him and the other new representative, David Welter, this fall when we return to Springfield.
Local Events
McD_night_out.jpg       On Tuesday, August 4th neighborhoods around the country celebrated ‘National Night Out’. It’s an event where communities get together and promote camaraderie between neighbors and with the police that protect us. It is an effort to foster relationships that will make us safer and our communities better.
       Last Monday we had our second Women’s self-defense seminar with One Light. It was very informative and successful. The free workshop taught avoidance tactics, self-defense misconceptions, offensive techniques and defensive escapes. To learn more about the non-profit group One Light, which travels to Africa every year to teach and help young women, go to their website. The reception of these classes has been overwhelmingly positive and I will certainly do another in the future.
       Wednesday was my annual senior fair. Residents came out to peruse state and local providers of services to seniors that can help improve wellness and make life more enjoyable. In addition, staff from state agencies were able to assist constituents with state government concerns.