The McDermed Dispatch for August 28th

Education Funding Reform Deal Tentatively Reached
Legislative leaders and the governor have reached an agreement on historic education funding reform.  The leaders from the House and Senate negotiated face-to-face last week and over the weekend. An agreement in principle was announced last Thursday. Under the agreement, which has not yet been approved by either house of the General Assembly, Illinois will adopt an “evidence-based” school funding formula. The House is scheduled to be in session today to consider passage of the proposal.
Rape Kit Tracking Legislation Signed in to Law
On Friday Governor Rauner signed my legislation, House Bill 528, in to law. Working with the Illinois State Police I spearheaded this legislation to help implement a rape kit tracking system in Illinois. It creates the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission, a group that will work to create the tracking system and develop the guidelines for sexual assault evidence tracking. The commission will bring together relevant stakeholders including state police, testing labs, local law enforcement, the court system, hospitals, and victim’s rights groups to discuss how to handle transfers of evidence, testing, payment for testing, and other important factors. It’s a great new law that will help limit human error, reduce the kit backlog, bring more offenders to justice, and empower sexual assault victims. Read more about the bill here.
Beagle Bill Finally Law
The legislation colloquially known as the ‘Beagle Freedom Bill’ was also signed by the Governor. The bill requires tax payer funded labs to work with animal rescue organizations to give cats and dogs used for research purposes a chance at adoption rather than being euthanized. Beagles are a popular breed for lab testing and research purposes because of their disposition and size. This is a bill I’ve helped work on for over a year and a half and I’m proud to see it finally become law. 
Pop tax Draws Ire and Legislative Response
On August 2 Cook County implemented a one cent per ounce Sweetened Beverage Tax.  Consumers now have to pay on average 67 percent more for a 2-liter of pop, 43 percent more for a gallon of juice or sweetened iced tea, and 29 percent more for a 12-pack. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently notified Cook County that portions of the tax were illegal and that the state could stand to lose more than $86 million in federal funding if the problems are not resolved. Additionally, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission has voiced its concerns with Cook County as well, stating that the new tax “may lead to practices that violate the Illinois Liquor Control Act.”
The tax has enraged many citizens and has even resulted in several lawsuits. Several House Republicans filed legislation to prevent any home rule county from imposing a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold and to repeal the Cook County ordinance.
Advanced Women’s Self Defense Class
Many who attended the previous classes I hosted over the summer requested a follow up class and I’m happy to inform you that one has been scheduled for September 18th at 6pm. It will be at St. Johns Church of Christ Community Center, 11000 2nd Street in Mokena. This is only available to those who have completed the introductory class. Contact my office to register.