Bush

  • Bush: Lake County Health Department awarded grant to improve oral health during pandemic

    dental 071420GRAYSLAKE –State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) thanked Delta Dental Monday for supplying Lake County with a $50,000 emergency grant to improve oral health and overall health for area residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Together, with the help of groups like Delta Dental, we will get through this health crisis,” Bush said. “Protecting the health of all Illinoisans is a top priority.”

    The grant received by the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center was part of $1 million awarded by the Delta Dental Illinois Foundation through its emergency grant program. The Lake County Health Department was one of 20 Illinois groups to receive part of the funding.

    With its share of the money, the Waukegan-based group will develop a system to control airborne particles generated during dental services and purchase additional personal protective equipment for the dental team.

    “Oral care is an important part of an individual’s overall health and well-being,” Bush said. “People need to feel safe when they go to the dentist.”

  • Senator Bush’s office now taking appointments

    office open3 070920GRAYSLAKE –After months of working remotely, State Senator Melinda Bush’s district office will reopen to the public on an appointment-only basis beginning Monday.

    “To keep community members safe and healthy from COVID-19, we decided to work from home during the height of the pandemic,” the Grayslake Democrat said. “However, while we were still answering emails and phone calls, we recognize and believe people are best served in-person.”

    Bush’s office will be open by appointment-only in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 between both staff and community members.

    While it is encouraged to conduct business over the phone, via email or through Zoom, people may still visit the office by making an appointment.

    To do so, they may call 847-548-5631 or visit senatormelindabush.com/contact/request-a-meeting . There is also an option on the website to make a Zoom appointment – which is highly encouraged. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Those who are medically able should wear a face covering in an effort to keep everyone in the office – and everyone who visits after them – as safe as possible.

    “Opening the office will allow us to better serve the people we represent,” Bush said. “I encourage anyone with questions or concerns related to legislation, COVID-19 or other items to contact my office. We are always happy to help.”

    Bush’s office will continue to be available by both phone and email.

  • Sen. Bush: SCOTUS birth control opt out will not impact Illinois

    bush 013020GRAYSLAKE –The country’s top court ruled Wednesday that employers can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate over religious and moral objections. However, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is reminding women it will not impact Illinoisans, thanks to last year’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act.

    I am disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow employers to dictate a woman’s access to contraception,” Bush said. “Employers can’t deny access to antibiotics for someone who has a sexually transmitted disease for moral reasons. How can they deny access to birth control?”

    The Supreme Court made it more difficult for women to get access to birth control through their employer’s insurance, should their employer have a moral or religious objection to contraceptives.

    The opinion upheld an administrative rule from President Donald Trump that significantly cut back on the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for insurers to provide coverage of preventative care and screenings without any cost sharing requirements as part of most health care plans.

    However, thanks to the Reproductive Health Act, spearheaded by Bush, the court’s ruling does not supersede Illinois law. The Reproductive Health Act ensures reproductive health care is treated like all other health care in Illinois, guaranteeing women continued access to contraceptives.

    “Today’s ruling further shows the importance of the Reproductive Health Act passed by the Illinois General Assembly last year,” Bush said. “The monumental measure affirms women, not politicians nor employers, can and should make their own decisions.

  • Bush: Free credit checks available amid COVID-19 crisis

    credit score 070220GRAYSLAKE —In an effort to help people focus on their finances after months of economic disparities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Melinda Bush (Grayslake) is highlighting a number of free credit reporting websites. 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic put unforeseen financial burdens on many families,” Bush said. “Credit reporting websites can be expensive, but it’s important to know your credit score. However, there are many free resources available, and I encourage people to take advantage of them.”

  • New anti-discrimination and harassment law takes effect

    bush 032019GRAYSLAKE — Private sector workers who experience sexual harassment and discrimination will have greater protections under the law thanks to a major piece of legislation from State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that took effect Wednesday.

    “This law gives victims of workplace harassment and discrimination more protections and ensures they are able to seek justice,” Bush said. “We’re not only changing the law—we’re changing the culture. We’re standing with victims and saying enough is enough.”

    Employers will now be required to provide sexual harassment prevention training once a year, and discrimination against an employee because they are perceived to be a part of the protected class would be illegal, even if the employee is not part of that class.

    The law — found in Senate Bill 75 — also includes major reforms to the state’s ethics investigation process, including making the process more transparent and giving additional rights to victims of harassment and discrimination who file ethics complaints.

    Bush introduced the law after traveling the state as the co-chair of the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness Prevention, hearing from both victims and advocates. Her conversations led her to fight for more protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

    “Preventing sexual harassment and discrimination and ensuring our workplaces are safe is not only good for workers—it’s good for business,” Bush said. “With these measures in place, workers will have more protections under the law, and employers will be more proactive about educating employees and preventing these situations.”

    The measure was signed by the governor last year and took effect July 1.

     

  • Bush applauds Supreme Court’s decision in Louisiana abortion case

    scotus 062920GRAYSLAKE — State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that restricted abortion and would have led to the closure of nearly every abortion clinic in the state:

    “Today’s outcome was a major win for women and reproductive rights activists across the country. The Louisiana law placed an undue burden and substantial obstacle on women seeking abortions. Women across the country are seeing their rights taken away, and that simply must stop. Women have the right to make decisions about their bodies, and this court recognized that.”

  • Senator Bush encourages vote by mail

    Sen. Melinda BushGRAYSLAKE — In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by not having people line up at the polls to cast their ballot in November, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) encourages people to take advantage of the state’s robust vote-by-mail program.

    “Illinoisans will not have to choose between casting their vote and staying healthy this fall,” Bush said. “Voters have more options to have their voices heard — which is especially important at a time when so many are leaning on their elected officials for help.”

  • Bush thanks local groups for Intergovernmental Ethylene Oxide Testing

    bush 013020GRAYSLAKE —State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) applauded local government agencies for creating a testing plan to address the continuing issue of ethylene oxide air pollution in Lake County.

    “No one should have to worry about the air they breathe being safe from harmful chemicals,” Bush said. “Thanks to efforts from the Lake County Health Department, area residents will soon know the truth about their air quality.”

    Due to concerns surrounding ethylene oxide emissions from Medline Industries in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee, the Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan created a multi-phase ethylene oxide testing plan. The plan — which collected air samples to be analyzed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry — was finalized last week.

    The agency will produce a health risk assessment report, and the Illinois Department of Public Health will perform a cancer incidence study. The findings of both reports will allow Bush and others to understand how the chemical is impacting residents’ health and roll out a more comprehensive plan on how to tackle the health risks.

    Bush has been a steadfast supporter of combatting the ethylene oxide health crisis. Last year, she successfully passed a law that established the strictest limits in the nation on ethylene oxide emissions. She also spearheaded a law that requires Vantage Specialty Chemicals, a Lake County manufacturer that uses ethylene oxide in its products, to put in place several environmental safeguards in order to continue operating.

    “While the measures we passed last year were major steps forward to ensure the air we breathe is safe, we needed to do more,” Bush said. “The data from these reports will give us the information we need to best protect our community from the harmful effects of ethylene oxide.”

  • Bush: Vote by mail expansion will help ensure safe participation in elections

    Vote by mailGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-GRAYSLAKE) lent her support to a new law, signed on Tuesday, that will make voting by mail much easier for Lake County residents in the interest of a safer November election.

    “Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Bush said. “During this pandemic, we want to make sure people can exercise their civic duty safely by minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

    Under this new law, any person who has voted in the past two years will receive an application for a vote by mail ballot in their mailbox. Voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election, as well as those who have already registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election, are due to receive the application.

    Election authorities are expected to mail out applications no later than Aug. 1, so people can expect their applications in early August. They can also expect to receive periodic reminders from the Secretary of State’s Office to submit their application.

    However, people who aren’t automatically sent an application will still have the chance to apply for a ballot through the State Board of Elections’ website. Vote by mail applications must be received by the Election Authority by October, 29, 2020. The form can be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or will include instructions for making the request electronically.

    Voters can still go to the polls in person on Election Day.

    Senate Bill 1863 also establishes Election Day as a state holiday in 2020, to allow schools to be used as polling locations and to help recruit more high school students as election judges, since many of those who frequently serve as election judges are senior citizens, and thus at higher risk in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This Election Day will be an excellent opportunity for students to participate in the democratic process,” Bush said. “Their contributions will help ensure polling places can stay open during this unusual election cycle.”

    This legislation was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

  • Bush: New grant available to child care providers

    bush030920GRAYSLAKE — As parents gradually return to work outside the home, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging child care providers to take advantage of the $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program, included in the recently approved state budget. 

    “During the pandemic, we’ve seen a decreased need for child care, as more parents were forced to stay and work from home,” Bush said. “Now that our state is beginning to reopen and more parents have to return to work, many children will once again need a place to receive care during the day. This grant program will help child care providers stay open and reopen to accommodate the needs of returning parents.” 

    The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic needs of child care providers while the state’s economy reopens in the coming weeks.

    The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is responsible for the development of the grant program for licensed child care providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be overseen by the the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.  

    The recently launched “Intent to Apply” online survey can be found here. All information provided will impact the development of the grant program slated for release in July 2020. Eligible providers will receive their first installments later in the summer. The survey will remain open until 5 p.m. on June 19, 2020.

    More information can be found here

  • State budget emphasizes employment, education, mental health

    Senator BushGRAYSLAKE — Gov. JB Pritzker officially signed the new state budget today, and it includes funding to support Illinois seniors, for residents struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and to stabilize the education system, all priorities for State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

    “We’re facing record unemployment because of the pandemic, and our systems weren’t built to accommodate the number of people needing help all at once,” Bush said. “This budget had to help stabilize our economy and provide support for all struggling Illinoisans. Now was not the time to be cutting back on vital services.”

    The budget preserves P-12 education funding, ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t rob students of the opportunity to succeed in the future. It provides $12.6 billion to P-12 education and $7.2 billion specifically for the state’s evidence based funding model. It also increases funding to support older Illinois residents with additional funding for the Senior Meals Program and a nearly $28 million increase to the Community Care Program, which will help people who might otherwise need to go to an assisted living facility stay in their homes.

    The budget also contains an additional $30 million for mental health and substance abuse programs affected by COVID-19 and provides the Illinois Department of Employment Security with $60 million in additional funding to address challenges with the unemployment system. The added funding will help IDES increase the number of workers to help aid residents navigate the unemployment system and process claims faster.

    “This isn’t anyone’s ideal budget, but it’s the one we needed right now,” Bush said. “It protects students, seniors, and the unemployed.”

    The approved budget is for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1.

  • Bush urges residents to have a plan for severe weather

    severeweather1 060920GRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D- Grayslake) is urging all Lake County residents to prepare for possible severe weather by developing an emergency plan.

    To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe.

    “Lake County has been particularly vulnerable to flooding,” Bush said. “I highly encourage all residents to sign up for the Lake County severe weather alerts in order to be prepared for unpredictable weather.”

    For more Lake County-specific weather preparedness information please sign up for Alert Lake County here or visit the Lake County Flood Preparedness website here.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IEMA recommends a few new items be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit include water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at www.ready.gov/kit.

    For more information, IEMA offers severe weather preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website, a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters.

  • New Bush law will protect sexual assault survivors during pandemic

    bush030920GRAYSLAKE — Survivors of sexual assault will now be able to receive medical forensic exams, also known as rape kits, at federally qualified health centers in addition to hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that was signed into law today.

    “The health risks associated with going to a crowded hospital during the pandemic has deterred survivors from seeking help,” Bush said. “Sexual assault survivors should not have to choose between potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 and seeking justice.” 

    Senate Bill 557 allows approved federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies like COVID-19. 

     “Sexual assaults haven’t stopped during the pandemic,” Bush said. “It’s important that we provide more places that will provide safe and compassionate treatment.”

    The law takes effect immediately.

  • Bush legislation seeks to address limited options on rape kit testing during COVID-19 crisis

    bush floor 052320

    CHICAGO – Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) have passed emergency legislation to address concerns related to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault have access to care and evidence collection during the COVID-19 crisis. Under current law sexual assault survivors’ only option for a forensic exam and evidence collection is to go to an emergency department. Many survivors seeking treatment at alternative sites have expressed fear of being exposed to COVID-19 at hospital emergency rooms.

    Senate Bill 557 seeks to allow approved federally qualified health centers (FQHC) to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

    “We know sexual assaults are not stopping during this time. Survivors should not have the added worry of being exposed to the virus, they deserve better,” Representative Cassidy said. 

    Advocacy groups and experts in the industry know that sexual violence is not decreasing during this time. Resilience, Chicago’s largest comprehensive rape crisis center has reported a 49% decrease in call volume from hospitals since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile Howard Brown Health Center a federally qualified health center, has seen its volume of sexual assault cases double.

    "Currently, the only place a survivor of sexual assault can get a rape kit or medical help is a hospital. With survivors citing COVID-19 and the health risks associated with going to a crowded hospital as a reason to stay away, it's more important than ever to allow federally qualified health centers to perform rape kits and give survivors additional options to seek help," Bush said. "The need for alternative options has never been more important than right now." 
     

    In order to provide these exams FQHCs would need to apply to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Facilities must also abide by strict guidelines including working with emergency departments, rape crisis centers and offer wrap around services to survivors.

    "With many survivors uncomfortable going to a hospital during the pandemic, it's critical to provide other places where they can access safe treatment and compassionate care," said Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx. "Expanding these options will also allow for evidence collection, which is vital to bringing survivors justice. I'm grateful to the sponsors and advocates who share our trauma-informed, victim-centered approach and moved quickly to advance this important legislation."

    This legislation represents an initiative by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Office of the Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Public Health. The bill passed the House by a vote of 107-1 and the Senate 56-0. 

  • Bush highlights additional student loan relief

    student loan2 042320GRAYSLAKE — In an effort to help people struggling to pay their student loans during the unprecedented economic challenges facing the state and country, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) highlighted relief options that could benefit nearly 140,000 Illinoisans. 

    “If you are struggling with student loan debt, please contact your loan providers immediately to discuss a repayment plan that incorporates expanded relief options during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bush. “Illinoisans should not have to worry about how they will repay their student loans during a national crisis.”

    Under the initiative, spearheaded by Gov. JB Pritzker and Secretary Deborah Hagan of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, people with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are having a hard time making their payments due to COVID-19 will be eligible for expanded relief. 

    Borrowers who need assistance are asked to immediately contact their student loan provider to set up a plan. 

    Relief options are based on a person’s individual needs and include:

    • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance,
    • Waiving late payment fees,
    • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting,
    • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days,
    • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

    If a person is having problems contacting their student loan servicer, they can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Banking at 217-785-2900 or the attorney general’s student loan helpline at 1-800-455-2456. If Illinois residents have difficulty contacting state agencies at those numbers, they are encouraged to reach out to their state senator’s office. 

    Senator Bush’s District Office is serving constituents remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, so please call (847) 548-5631 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance.

  • Bush: A sudden need for a home repair can be stressful for anyone

    homerepair1 041720GRAYSLAKE — The Community Partners for Affordable Housing in Lake County was awarded nearly $500,000 to help area homeowners with repairs, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) announced Friday.

    “A sudden need for a home repair can be stressful for anyone," said Bush. "It's even more stressful at a time when money is limited. Some people are already worried about feeding their families. They shouldn't have to worry about fixing the leaking roof over their head, too.”

    The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors awarded the Lake County organization $482,000 to help low- and very low-income homeowners with necessary home repairs. The group awarded $11,000,000 statewide through the state’s Single Family Rehabilitation Program. The lump sum is projected to help at least 326 families. 

    The Single Family Rehabilitation Program provides forgivable loans of up to $45,000 per household to assist with necessary repairs to remove documented health and safety hazards. Eligible repairs include roofing, flooring and plumbing, among others. 

    A roof-only option is also available for people who do not need other repairs. Those recipients are offered up to $16,500 to mitigate against future roof damage. 

    “The money awarded to Lake County will change the lives of some people who are stressed about paying for housing repairs, especially at a time where more people are finding themselves on fixed incomes,” Bush said.

    Households can apply for grants by contacting Community Partners for Affordable Housing at (847) 263-7478. The group will walk families in need through the application process and explain eligibility. 

  • Bush asks out-of-state health care professionals to come to Illinois

    bush030920GRAYSLAKE – Due to the skyrocketing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois and more anticipated cases on the horizon, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is asking doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other healthcare professionals from border states – especially Wisconsin – to apply for Illinois’ new Out of State Temporary Practice Permits.

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has announced several new actions to increase the number of healthcare professionals working to help combat the novel coronavirus. One of the new measures includes an IDFPR proclamation allowing out-of-state nurses, physicians, and various medical professionals to provide care to Illinois residents with COVID-19. 

    “Illinois is home to many well qualified medical professionals, but with health systems increasingly being filled to capacity, we simply won’t have enough people to care for all COVID-19 patients unless we take drastic actions,” Bush said. “The district I represent is on Illinois’ border, and I want to make sure that residents affected by COVID-19 who live close to the Wisconsin border have access to well qualified medical professionals.”

    The application for the Out of State Temporary Practice Permit is available online at www.idfpr.com/Renewals/Apply/Forms/F2398.pdf

  • Bush: Blood banks in urgent need of donations

    Blood donationGRAYSLAKE – Blood banks are facing a sharp decrease in donation appointments around Lake County and the state. Outright cancellations of blood drives have also been occurring with more frequency due to COVID-19. In light of the increasing shortages, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging people to donate blood assuming they are willing and able.

    “If you are healthy and eligible to donate, your participation is critical to helping our healthcare system continue to operate,” Bush said. “We need blood donations to continue to treat illnesses like anemia, cancer, kidney and liver disease, or for surgeries that require a blood transfusion. The more we can produce positive health outcomes for patients, the more literal room we’ll create to address the coronavirus pandemic.”

  • Bush asks people to donate to food pantries to address increased need

    food pantryGRAYSLAKE – In light of the current situation, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is asking people to donate food to local food pantries to help address increased need.

    “With schools and businesses across the state closed, people have lost jobs or seen their incomes reduced. Some are now struggling to put food on the table,” Bush said. “Food pantries are struggling to keep up with higher demand and have no idea how long this will last, so it’s important that we help each other out during this troubling time.”

    Bush is urging people who are able to donate to local food pantries in northern Lake County.

  • Bush plan would make child care less of a barrier to public service

    bush030920SPRINGFIELD – Frustrated by the lack of women in government and politics, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) passed a measure out of the Senate allowing political campaign funds to be used for child-care expenses.

    “Highly qualified and experienced women and other young parents are being locked out of politics because of the cost of child care,” Bush said. “This legislation will allow talented people to run for office, work in politics, and volunteer their time without worrying about finding affordable child care.”