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The House of Representatives voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB1351, a bill that would create the Student Loan Servicing Rights Act. This was an initiative of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to help address the growing problem of student loan debt and the alleged abuse by student loan servicing companies.

In 2017 the Attorney General’s Office sued Navient, the largest student loan servicer in the country over allegations of abuse on student loan servicing and student loan debt collection. The Attorney General backed this legislative measure to create a student loan bill of rights, so that borrowers can have a greater understanding of the payment processing, billing statements, payment histories, and an overall more transparent process to all aspects of student loans.

This legislation also creates the position of Student Loan Ombudsman within the Office of the Attorney General, which will help provide timely assistance to student loan borrowers who are experiencing problems with loans. In addition, every student loan servicer must be licensed with IDFPR, who are charged with overseeing, investigating, examining, and disciplining servicers for any violations of the Act.

Representative Winger voted in favor of the veto override, recognizing the necessity of providing many Illinois residents and students with more understanding of their rights, responsibilities, and options when it comes to loans.

“Student loans are a heavy burden to bear, and many students after graduating college have trouble navigating their loan debt, as well as understanding the process,” said Winger. “This bill will help ensure that no student is defrauded by loan servicers. It provides a clear process so students understand their rights and know where to turn to for help along the way.”

Rep. Winger was one of 98 lawmakers supporting the measure in the House, allowing the initial veto of the bill to be successfully overridden.
During legislative veto session in the House of Representatives, a measure to amend the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act was brought forward for consideration. The bill, HB302, is an initiative of State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, to provide beneficiaries with the benefits of all insurance plans that have lapsed, and encourage insurance companies to more aggressively search for beneficiaries following the death of policy holders.

After finding that nearly $550 million was unclaimed in death benefits between 2011 and 2015, Frerichs backed this legislation to ensure money is rightfully paid to family members from life insurance policies. Under this measure, it would make it easier to claim life insurance benefits when a policyholder dies.

According to the bill, life insurance companies would be required to compare electronic records of its policies in force since 2000 with the Social Security Administration’s list of deaths to determine whether a life insurance policy should be paid. Current law only calls for companies to make payments when requested by the beneficiaries.

Representative Winger stood in support of this measure when it was presented during veto session, recognizing the need to put more pressure on life insurance companies to pay what is rightfully owed to beneficiaries.

In the House of Representatives, the veto was overridden with 71 members voting in favor of the bill. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration, and if the motion to override receives the required votes in that Chamber, HB302 will become law.

Click the above button to view State Representative Christine Winger's 2017 Legislative Newsletter. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency is sponsoring the 14th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which will be held nationwide on Saturday October 28th.

The DEA started National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to ensure residents can have free access to safe and secure disposal, while also educating the public about the potential for drug abuse through prescription medications. With drug abuse rates at record-highs, this is also an organized effort to relieve prescription drug abuse, especially from opioids, that are used medically but become additive- and can lead to further drug abuse.

Overtime, people acquire prescription drugs, but do not know how to discard of them properly. When these types of prescription drugs are sent to an insecure landfill, or flushed down the toilet, they can cause dangerous contamination. Unneeded or expired prescription drugs should be placed in secure, monitored landfill storage sites that do not leach into groundwater.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are participating to further encourage the safe disposal of prescription drugs. All drugs and containers will be incinerated. Participants do not need to take labels off drug containers before bringing them to the collection sites.

Find the nearest Illinois collection site to you here.

State Representative Christine Winger is hosting a Family Wellness Fair on Saturday October 28th. The event will be held at the Carol Stream Park District, Simkus Recreation Center, 849 Lies Road, from 9:00am-noon.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Representative Winger is excited to present this great opportunity to her constituents, and encourages all area residents and their families to attend to learn more about health, wellness, and safety—and to meet their Representative.

“This fair will have many different organizations giving information, free screenings, and help to those looking to learn more about health and wellness,” said Winger. “This event covers a variety of areas necessary to living a healthy life, and is focused on families. From children to seniors, this event will bring together the various resources families should know about in the community, so they can live a healthy lifestyle and make wellness a priority.”
Some of the screenings available include free flu shots for Medicare B recipients, blood pressure, hearing, and more. In addition to health screenings, representatives from state agencies will be at the event to provide resources on state services. Resources and information on nutrition, college savings plans, senior services, and safety will also be available.

For more information on the event, contact Rep. Winger’s District Office at (847) 252-9311.
State Representative Christine Winger visited the Elmer H. Franzen School in Itasca to serve as the school’s Principal for the Day. The Principal for the Day program is an initiative of the Illinois Principals Association, and provides opportunities for school principals and administrators to build relationships with their State and Federal lawmakers. Lawmakers visit local schools to serve as principals in a variety of capacities, like interacting with educators, students, speaking to classes and performing administrative duties throughout the visit. 

Representative Winger was excited to participate in this year’s program at the Elmer H. Franzen school, and spent her time there meeting students, receiving a building tour, and even testing her four square skills at recess.

Rep. Winger met with the third grade class at the school to spend time discussing state government and her role in the House of Representatives. She especially enjoyed answering their questions about the House of Representatives.

After the historic education funding agreement was passed in the legislature this summer, Winger was eager to visit schools in her 45th district. “Visiting the local school districts and talking with educators is important to gaining a better understanding of what our students need and how current resources are being used,” said Winger. “The students I met today at the Franzen School were impressive and asked intelligent questions on state government, and I was happy to spend my time listening and learning with them.”

Winger also had time to sit down with school principal, Jason Taylor, to learn more about the school administration, history, and concerns for the upcoming school year.

The Representative hopes she will be able to again serve as a Principal for the Day throughout her district, and is looking forward to some students visiting her in Springfield during session.

The effort to repeal the sweetened beverage tax levied on residents of Cook County culminated in a vote today, after 15 Cook County Commissioners stated their support to eliminate it.

State Representative Christine Winger has been a strong opponent of the pop tax since it took effect on August 2nd. Like many lawmakers at the state and local level, Rep. Winger believed the new tax put an unfair burden on Cook County, and stood in support of legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives to repeal it.

Many residents in the county have been unhappy about the added financial cost of buying sweetened beverages, and the movement to repeal the tax has gained momentum over the summer.

Rep. Winger’s legislative district encompasses a portion of Cook County, and she heard first-hand the opposition to the penny-per-ounce tax from residents and businesses alike. She was relieved that Cook County finally took the appropriate action to repeal the tax, especially after the strong opposition only continued to escalate.

“Today’s repeal of the pop tax was the right move. Now our residents and businesses can rest assured that there is an end in sight to this unfair and unnecessary tax,” said Winger.

The Representative heard from local businesses that were severely impacted by the tax, which caused residents in the area to travel a short distance out of the county to not pay the extra price for sweetened beverages and goods.

“This tax was an unfair disadvantage for businesses in the area. With the repeal, the playing field is level again for the businesses on the collar of Cook County.”

The tax will officially end starting December 1st, making it one of the shortest taxes in history.