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Sen. Bush co-sponsored measure to consolidate local government is now law

bush pink taxSPRINGFIELD — To continue pushing for more options to consolidate local government, State Sen. Melinda Bush supported a new law signed by Governor Rauner this week that allows two Lake County Sanitary Districts to dissolve and relegate their duties and obligations to county government.

"This legislation, in addition to others I’ve sponsored and supported this year, is an answer to clear calls from the community asking us to provide the means to consolidate local government," said Bush, D-Grayslake. "Property owners are paying taxes on more than 7,000 units of local government throughout Illinois. We don’t need that many, and it’s time to seek commonsense ways to reorganize where we can while still providing quality services."

The new law allows the Round Lake Sanitary District and Fox Lake Hills Sanitary District to enter into agreements with Lake County to dissolve. In doing so, the county would undertake the assets and responsibilities of the sanitary districts. Bush co-sponsored the measure in the Illinois Senate, where it had bipartisan support.

The legislation was House Bill 5584. It is effective immediately.

Bush’s contraceptive coverage plan signed into law

bush pink taxSPRINGFIELD — To ensure that women have a wide variety of choices in how they approach their reproductive health, the governor signed into law a plan co-sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush that extends insurance coverage to almost all approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products.

“One of the most important aspects of a woman’s health is how she handles reproductive issues,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “This measure brings us in line with federal health reforms and gives women the power to choose without worrying about exorbitant cost. We must have parity in our health care system, and we know that for women to truly have equality, they must have choices.”

In addition to extending coverage to nearly all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, the new law clarifies existing statute and brings it into compliance with federal coverage standards. Insurance companies must offer at least one product, drug, or device of a particular therapeutic equivalent version with no cost-sharing, and insurance companies would also be required to provide 12 months of contraceptive at one time. Insurers must also provide an expedient and convenient review process to ensure coverage.

The legislation was House Bill 5576. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Bush calls for compromise on budget legislation

bush 050516SPRINGFIELD — To open schools on time, fund universities, maintain road projects and protect the state’s most vulnerable, State Senator Melinda Bush called on the General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner to pass stop gap funding measures.

“The legislation we’re about to debate in Springfield reflects a compromise for both sides,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “We have a choice this week between fighting for ideology or coming together to fulfill our duty to students, businesses and the people who need our help the most. We must make the right choice.”

A wide-ranging stop gap package includes an increase of $760 million to state schools, including increases to early childhood education at a level proposed by Governor Rauner, $1 billion to higher education to cover operational costs and tuition grants that have gone unpaid during the budget impasse, operational funds for state agencies to ensure facilities such as prisons can remain open, funding for Department of Transportation road projects and $650 million in funding for human services that include programs like autism relief, addiction treatment, and aid to those with mental illness, developmental disability and the blind and aged.

“It is unfortunate that we’re here at the eleventh hour debating a stop gap measure, but it isn’t too late to do what Illinoisans have been clear in calling on us to do: Our jobs,” Bush said. “I call on the governor to do his.”

The General Assembly convenes tomorrow to consider the legislation.

Bush calls for support for new K-12 funding plan

bush 050516GRAYSLAKE — State Senator Melinda Bush called on her fellow lawmakers to approve an education package that will increase preschool through 12th grade funding and school poverty grants to levels long recommended by the state.

“Under this plan, the Lake County schools I represent in Springfield see much-needed funding increases,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “This plan ensures our schools open their doors on time and reflects an area on which the governor and I wholeheartedly agree: We must adequately fund schools. I ask all Springfield lawmakers to give this measure their full support.”

Slated for consideration Wednesday, Senate Bill 2054 would increase General State Aid to schools by $760 million and include grants to school districts based on need. It also includes a $75 million increase to Early Childhood Education in keeping with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. Funding would carry Illinois public schools through the remainder of the calendar year as the General Assembly continues to negotiate a 2017 budget.

Under the new budget plan:

  • Round Lake District 116 would see an increase of $4,862,091.
  • Wauconda District 118 would see an increase of $1,835,817.
  • Grayslake District 46 would see an increase of $1,704,466, and high school District 127 would see an increase of $750,513.
  • Zion District 6 would see an increase of $1,794,422 and Zion-Benton high school District 126 would see an increase of $713,219.
  • Antioch District 34 would see an increase of $982,150.
  • Big Hollow District 38 would see an increase of $802,289.
  • Beach Park District 3 would see an increase of $696,693.
  • Warren Township District 121 would see an increase of $675,903.
  • Woodland District 50 would see an increase of $406,821.
  • Gavin District 37 would see an increase of $223,594.
  • Millburn District 24 would see an increase of $194,927.
  • Winthrop Harbor District 1 would see an increase of $192,118.
  • Emmons District 33 would see an increase of $8,653.
  • Gurnee District 56 would see an increase of $334,845.

“This is a compromise that’s good for our students,” Bush said. “I’m looking forward to the General Assembly working together to pass it.”

The Illinois General Assembly reconvenes June 29 to consider the legislation.

Sen. Melinda Bush

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31st Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Government Accountability/Pensions; Revenue; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (AP); Sub. on Tax Exemptions and Credits; Sub. on Interscholastic Athletics; Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Born March 18, 1956; former member of the Lake County Board, Forest Preserve Board and former Grayslake village trustee; married (Andy) with one adult son (Chris).

Associated Representatives:
Joyce Mason
Sam Yingling