Bush

  • Bush: New grant to Lake County schools will help close the digital divide and give every student a chance to succeed

    student ipad 092220GRAYSLAKE – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accentuate inequalities in access to technology throughout Lake County and the entire state, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is highlighting that 15 Lake County-based schools have been selected to receive part of $80 million to close the digital divide.

    “No student should have to miss out on learning because they don’t have the proper technological resources to participate in e-learning,” Bush said. “I am pleased to learn 15 Lake County schools have received funds to close the digital divide and give every student a chance to succeed – regardless of financial situation.”

    Nearly 500 schools across the state received a total of more than $80 million to help ensure all students have reliable access to the technology they need for remote learning. The money comes from the Digital Equity Formula Grant, which was funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The grant allocated funding to the highest-need communities in the state to provide important e-learning resources to low-income families.

    Schools can use the grant to purchase additional devices and connectivity or to cover purchases made since the onset of the pandemic on March 13.

    For more information about COVID-19 and education, visit isbe.net/covid19.

  • Bush on World Suicide Prevention Day: Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Every life matters.

    therapy group 091020GRAYSLAKE – This year alone, 55 Lake County residents have lost their lives to suicide. Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is showing her support for those struggling and reminding everyone that help is available.

    “Even one life lost to suicide is too many,” Bush said. “There are many great resources available to Lake County residents that can help them when they feel down. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Every life matters.”

    The Lake County Health Department offers a free Crisis Care Program. The confidential hotline, available at 1-847-377-8088, can help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or substance abuse. Counselors are also available in person at 3002 Grand Lake Ave. in Waukegan. Anyone who needs help can call or walk in, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Help is extended to every resident of Lake County – no matter their age. Kids who are struggling are encouraged to download the “Lake County Help” app to their smartphone, which they can use to text anonymously with a licensed clinician.

    Additionally, any Lake County resident who needs assistance finding mental health or substance abuse treatment, as well as food, shelter, rent or utility assistance can call 211 or text their zip code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help.

    “The best way we can help others through their hardships is to support them and let them know we are here for them,” Bush said. “I encourage everyone to learn the signs of suicide and reach out to your friends and family who might need a little extra love.”

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers a number of resources to help people in crisis or those worried about a friend or family member. The lifeline offers 24/7 confidential support at 1-800-273-8255. Bush also encourages everyone to learn the risk factors and warning signs of suicide so they can help their loved ones. For more information, click here.

  • Bush: $36 million to tackle opioid crisis is a great step, but more work needs to be done

    opioids 091020GRAYSLAKE – As a steadfast advocate for addressing the state’s growing opioid crisis and creator of the Prescription Drug Task Force, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is pleased to learn the state has been given $36 million to continue to fight the epidemic.

    “The opioid epidemic is a serious and complicated issue that only continues to get worse,” Bush said. “These funds are a great step toward fighting the crisis, but there’s so much more work that needs to be done."

    Illinois received $36.7 million in federal funding to fight the opioid crisis – specifically because of issues arising in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will expand prevention, treatment, recovery and overdose response initiatives across the state.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed vulnerable populations – especially those with opioid use disorders,” Bush said.

    The programs receiving funding will bring critical services to help people with opioid use disorder, assist those on a path to recovery, provide emergency lifesaving medication for people experiencing an opioid overdose, and deliver a prevention and support message across the state.

    Bush has worked to address Illinois’ growing opioid crisis since first entering the General Assembly. Most notably, she passed a package of proposals in 2018 that, among other things, created a pilot program to treat youth and young adults with substance use disorders and allowed law enforcement agencies to develop and implement deflection programs that offer alternatives to jail for individuals suffering with substance abuse.

    Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, Bush is meeting with advocacy organizations and other legislators to look at potential measures to combat the opioid crisis.

    People who are experiencing problems with substance use disorder, should call the state’s Helpline for Opioids and other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP – 1-833-234-6343, text “HELP” to 833234, or visit HelplineIL.org.

  • Bush: Our community relies on the census count

    census 090920GRAYSLAKE –The Census Bureau recently announced it will end its counting efforts a month early, meaning there’s only a few weeks left to get counted. State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging everyone to complete the census immediately to avoid an undercount.

    “The opportunity to make a difference in how much funding your community gets doesn’t come around often,” Bush said. “After months of financial distress stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, your response is more important than ever. Remote learning, free meals for students and other assistance are relying on you.”  

    The census is safe, secure and confidential. It takes less than 10 minutes and can easily be done from the comfort of one’s home online, by phone or by mail. It determines congressional representation, helps determine how federal funds flow into states and provides information that will impact communities for the next decade.

    Some areas of Lake County are reporting low response rates. Without a 100% response rate, schools, roads, hospitals and other critical community services could be affected.

    Currently, only 75.7% of all Lake County residents have completed the Census. Additionally, just 55.1% of Old Mill Creek residents, 62.9% of Waukegan residents and 83.6% of Grayslake residents have filled out the form this year.

    “Thank you to those who have already taken the time to fill out the census,” Bush said. “Your response helps shape the future of our community and does not go unnoticed.”

    Residents can complete the census for their household at https://my2020census.gov.

  • Bush announces much-needed repairs to Joppa Avenue

    road const 080520ZION — The unsafe alley between the 2100 and 2500 blocks of Joppa Avenue in Zion will be repaired after the city received nearly a million dollars in state grants, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) announced Wednesday. 

    “Ambulances, police and other first responders have struggled to access this alleyway for years, and this reconstruction project will now allow first responders to best serve Zion residents who live in the area,” Bush said. “Working together with Mayor Billy McKinney and the city council, we were able to identify and fund much-needed project.”

    The Joppa Avenue alley has deteriorated to the extent it’s no longer accessible to emergency vehicles, such as police and fire, resulting in families in the area not receiving the help they need in a timely matter. The city will resurface the alley and replace storm drains, so stormwater stops collecting. The $914,000 worth of repairs is coming from the Build Illinois Bond Fund.

    “Zion’s partnership with State Senator Bush and Representative Mason has put the city at the top of the list for state investments, and we appreciate their hard work,” McKinney said. “I have traveled to Springfield frequently since I have been elected and continue to be in regular communication with our outstanding legislators.”

    Other Zion-based projects for Fiscal Year 2021 include: 

    • $750,000 for costs associated with a grant to Zion School District 126 for costs associated with improvements for Zion Benton Township High School.
    • $550,000 for a grant to Northpoint Resources for costs associated with renovations to the North Pointe Group Homes in Zion.
    • $100,000 for a grant to the Safe Place in Zion for costs associated with infrastructure improvements, including security system and upgrades.
    • $195 million for critical infrastructure projects in Lake County, including $122 million for regional stormwater management projects to reduce flood damages and restore and enhance the natural drainage system in Zion and other communities. 
  • Congressman Schneider and Senator Bush host state’s first Virtual Job Expo

    bush job expo 080420GRAYSLAKE — In partnership with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Job Center of Lake County, Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) and State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) will host the state’s first legislative-led virtual job expo the week of Aug. 24.

    “Now more than ever, we need to be highlighting employers that can and want to bring on new employees. This job fair has over the years connected hundreds with jobs, and with Senator Bush, we intend to continue to help those in Lake County seeking work,” Schneider said. 

    “We have helped hundreds of Lake County residents find work over the eight years of hosting a job fair — and we will not let the pandemic stop that,” Bush said. “At a time of hiring freezes and layoffs, I am dedicated to helping the hardworking people of Lake County find not just jobs — but careers.”

    Each day throughout the week of Aug. 24 at 1 p.m., a panel of employers from different job sectors will explain their open positions and company benefits as a virtual webinar via Zoom. 

    The program will be moderated by Bush and Schneider, and job seekers can ask their questions. All job openings discussed during the webinars will be posted on IllinoisJobLink.com and linked to the virtual job expo.

    The themed days are as follows:

    • Monday: Manufacturing
    • Tuesday: Transportation, Distribution, Logistics (TDL)
    • Wednesday: Health care
    • Thursday: Professional Services
    • Friday: Other

    To prepare people for the hiring process, the Job Center of Lake County will also host workshops ahead of the job expo to give people tips for seeking work during a time of social distancing and teach people how to build a customized resume that will stand out to employers.

    The “Job Search Resources in a Rough Market” workshop will be held Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. Registration can be found here.

    The “Your Personal Brand and Resumes” workshop will be held Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. Registration can be found here.

    Registration for the virtual job expo can be found here.

    Anyone with questions should contact Senator Bush’s office at 847-548-5631 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Congressman Schneider’s office at 847-383-4870.

  • Bush warns of IDES debit card fraud

    bush 020720GRAYSLAKE — State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is warning Illinoisans about possible unemployment debit card fraud after multiple reports of people receiving cards they didn’t apply for. 

    “There are so many people struggling to get legitimate unemployment benefits right now,” Bush said. “It’s sickening that there are people taking advantage of other people’s problems to perpetrate scams at a time like this.”

  • Bush reacts to criminal bribery investigation

    capitol rail 071720GRAYSLAKE— State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) released the following statement on a criminal bribery investigation that appears to implicate House Speaker Michael J. Madigan:

    “We can’t allow this shameful behavior to continue — especially from someone who has a lead role in both the General Assembly and throughout the state. The continuous ethics and legal violations have been swept under the rug for far too long.

    This past January I introduced Senate Bill 2488, which would require any lawmaker who has been indicted to be immediately removed from leadership. Should Madigan be indicted, he must be removed from leadership and resign immediately. Anyone in the Illinois General Assembly with ties to this ComEd scandal has betrayed the trust of the public. They must be held accountable.”

  • 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.