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Illinois Senate passes lifesaving heroin antidote law by Bush

bush-narcan-passesSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate voted to expand access to emergency, life-saving medication, announced State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

“Heroin use among our youth is a serious problem in the suburban areas I represent,” Bush said. “In the couple of weeks between this measure passing out of committee and today’s vote, Lake Zurich police saved another life with naloxone hydrochloride. By making opioid antidotes like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we give families the same chance to stop a heroin overdose and save a life.”

Dubbed “Lali’s Law,” Senate Bill 1466 would make Narcan available by prescription, allowing families to keep it on hand in the event of an emergency. The name honors the ongoing efforts of Live4Lali, a drug addiction education and awareness not-for-profit founded by Chelsea Laliberte and her mother. The family formed the organization after Alex “Lali” Laliberte, Chelsea’s brother, died of a heroin overdose in 2008. The group has promoted awareness of and access to the drug.

Delivered via a nasal injection, Narcan blocks the effects of narcotics like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough, the fast-acting drug can counteract the effects of a narcotics overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.

The drug is already in use by law enforcement officials, who earlier this month saved a Lake Zurich man who was overdosing. In March, Mundelein police were able to save another man in a similar situation. Police chiefs like Lake Villa Police Department’s Craig Somerville and Eric Guenther, chief of the Mundelein Police Department, have expressed their support for wider availability of the antidote.

“I’ve been on many overdose scenes personally where EMTs came in and revived a person who was as good as gone,” Somerville said of his experience seeing the drug deployed in the field. “It’s pretty much foolproof. I’ll have it in the pocket of my uniform when I come into work tomorrow.”

Bush said concerns about the drug’s availability in households possibly enabling narcotic use is understandable, but the potential to save lives can’t be ignored.

“People didn’t start driving more recklessly because cars suddenly added seatbelts,” Bush said.  “Nobody goes out looking to OD.  When people do, those who discover them are often their family or friends. This could give people the ability to save a loved one in the precious minutes available.”

The proposal is Senate Bill 1466. It passed the Senate with a unanimous 56-0 vote and proceeds to the House for consideration.

Bush advances economic development reforms

ribboncuttingGRAYSLAKE — Working together with local business leaders and colleagues in the Illinois Senate toward a more business-friendly Illinois, state Sen. Melinda Bush is pushing several pieces of legislation to lower fees, showcase small employers and retain businesses that border other states.

Senate Bill 1427, sponsored by Bush, clarifies the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s ability to issue EDGE tax credits to businesses that choose to remain in Illinois. Other states count retained employees toward the tax credits, something this proposal formalizes.

“As we work to ensure businesses stay in Illinois, we want to use every tool available,” Bush said. “Other states count retained workers toward tax credits. This helps us stay competitive.”

Senate Bill 680 would lower filing fees for limited liability companies (LLCs) in Illinois. Currently among the highest in the nation at $500, the filing fee would be reduced to $39 for LLCs. The $750 filing fee for series LLCs would also be reduced to $59. Bush is chief co-sponsor of the legislation.

“We need to bring Illinois in line with surrounding states,” Bush said. “We can’t be competitive when, just to start a venture, our small business owners must pay more than ten times what they do in neighboring states.”

Senate Bill 659 establishes a website that will bring all applications and documents necessary for starting a company in Illinois into one place. Currently, those applications are scattered across several sites, and some aren’t available online. Bush is chief co-sponsor of the legislation.

“As a species, we have mapped the genome and landed a probe on a comet,” Bush said. “As a state, Illinois can make its business applications available in one convenient place, without having to drive to an office to pick up a physical sheet of paper.”

Senate Resolution 53 declares the week of May 4, 2015 as High School Innovators Week, in recognition of a University of Illinois awards program that celebrates the innovative students. Bush is chief co-sponsor of the resolution.

“I’m proud to support a resolution that will help encourage our next generation of business owners and inventors,” Bush said.

The proposals head to the full Senate for a vote.

Bush cracks down on payroll abuses in state commissions

paycheckSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) advanced a plan Thursday that targets the creative scheduling practices used by some state commissions to increase pay for their members.

“Many state board and commission members are compensated on a per-meeting basis,” Bush said. “Unfortunately, this has led to commissions that split up meetings, sometimes meeting only for half an hour.”

The legislation passed the Illinois Senate in a unanimous 49-0 vote Thursday.

Unlike salaried boards like the Prisoner Review Board or the Liquor Control Commission, where members perform yearlong work and receive an annual salary, commissions that meet only periodically pay members on a per-meeting basis.

“We’ve discovered instances of meetings beginning one day and continuing on another for specious reasons,” Bush said. “We’ve found commission members who made roughly $800 an hour due to scheduling manipulation. We owe it to taxpayers to prohibit this kind of abuse.”

The measure would disallow state boards and commissions from meeting more than once in a consecutive seven-day period unless each meeting is more than 4 hours in length or in case of emergency. Boards and commissions subject to the new regulations would include those with a gubernatorial appointee and which compensate members on a per-meeting basis.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1444. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

Bush moves to update truth in taxation requirements

bush-tax-reqsSPRINGFIELD — In an effort to ensure news of possible tax changes is more readily accessible to the public, State Sen. Melinda Bush advanced legislation out of the Senate that requires taxing districts to post online notices of scheduled tax proposals.

The proposal passed the Illinois Senate with a unanimous 53-0 vote Thursday.

“Taxpayers deserve to know when tax increases are being considered,” Sen. Bush said. “Posting notices online helps disseminate that information more quickly, and gives constituents the most opportunity to register support or opposition to a proposal.”

Current truth in taxation laws require taxing bodies to post notices in newspapers that compare existing property tax levies to their proposed levies.  Under current law, taxing bodies are only required to post in newspapers.

In the new proposal, taxing districts with websites would be required to put such notices on their websites in addition to newspapers.  The new posting requirements will add no additional cost to taxing bodies or taxpayers, and enable easier sharing of proposals via new media like Twitter and Facebook.

“I’m pleased the Senate has joined me in supporting this common-sense approach. It’s a good day when you can provide a public service at no additional cost,” Bush said. “This is a win-win for everyone.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 792. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

Sen. Melinda Bush

bush 150

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