Bush

  • Senate builds unanimous support for automatic voter registration

    AVR

    After carefully negotiating changes requested by the governor, state agencies and other stakeholders, State Senator Andy Manar’s plan to modernize the voter registration process received unanimous support in the Illinois Senate today.

    “I am proud that the state Senate once again has voted to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois, and I hope the House will follow our lead and that Governor Rauner will sign it into law,” said Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill.

    If enacted, eligible Illinois citizens would be given the option to opt out of registering when they interact with certain state agencies, as opposed to the current system that requires citizens to opt-in.

    “At a time when we're seeing a major rollback of voting rights across the country, I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans came together and voted to expand access to the ballot in Illinois,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Voter registration laws disproportionately affect minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals. Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting and help ensure that all eligible Illinoisans are able to participate in our democracy should they so choose.”

    “I am happy to see this measure receive such great support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “The right to vote is a pillar of our democracy. Automatic voter registration will bring more participation and allow more voices to be heard in the legislative process.”

    “Automatic voter registration is important to the health of our democracy,” said Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). “There are so many existing roadblocks to participation. Something as basic as registration should not be one of those roadblocks. I am dismayed by how low voter turnout is, especially in local and off-cycle elections, and I believe that automatic registration will give more people an opportunity to let their voices be heard in the political process.”

    Currently, there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. Automatic voter registration will significantly reduce this number and will remove a barrier to voting for all eligible Illinoisans.

    “We should make it easier to vote, not harder,” said Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills). “This legislation will ensure that every Illinois resident who is eligible to vote doesn’t have to go through the sometimes burdensome process to register. This only enhances the voice of the voter during an election.”

    Rather than giving individuals the option to fill out a separate voter registration form when conducting business with a state agency, the measure would allow agencies to electronically transfer an individual’s data to the State Board of Elections. Automatically registering eligible voters will streamline bureaucracy, do away with redundant paperwork and save taxpayer dollars.

    “When it comes to modernizing state government, automatic voter registration checks all the boxes: it eliminates redundant paperwork, it cuts down on the number of times people have to interact with a government office, it curbs voter fraud, and it saves money,” said Manar. “The time is right for this reform.”

    “Not only does automatic voter registration remove a barrier to voting for eligible citizens, it is a common-sense way to modernize the registration process, reduce bureaucracy and duplication and save the state money,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “I hope this good government reform receives the same bipartisan support in the House and from the governor as it did in the Senate.”

    “We should be making it easier, not harder, for people to vote and have a direct say in who represents them,” said Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “Making automatic voter registration law will save taxpayer dollars, streamline a government function and ensure the ballot box is as easily accessible as possible for voters.”

    In March 2015, Oregon was the first state to enact automatic voter registration. Since then, California, West Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Alaska and the District of Columbia have adopted automatic registration, and thirty other states introduced legislation this year.

    “In the end, this effort is going to register people to vote, no matter who they vote for – Democrats or Republicans. It’s going to save money, modernize government and streamline our system,” Manar said. “And it’s going to lead more citizens of our state, regardless of where they live or their party affiliation, to participate in our electoral process. That means we all win as citizens of the state of Illinois.”

  • Bush’s plan to expose gender-based price discrimination passes Senate

    Sen. Melinda BushSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush’s (D-Grayslake) measure to increase transparency in pricing among service providers passed in the Illinois Senate today with strong bipartisan support.

    Senate Bill 298 would require hair salons, barbers, dry cleaners and tailors to provide customers with a price list for services upon request, giving consumers the resources necessary to make educated choices when deciding which businesses to frequent.

    “I was thrilled to see nearly all of my colleagues vote in support of this bill,” Bush said. “I hope members of the House show the same support and pass the measure.”

  • Bush seeks to expose gender-based discrimination in pricing for services

    bush 040617SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to increase transparency in pricing among service providers received the unanimous support of the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

    Senate Bill 298 would require hair salons, barbers, dry cleaners and tailors to provide customers with a price list for services upon request, giving consumers the resources necessary to make educated choices when deciding which businesses to frequent.

    “Too often women are charged more than men for the same services, while at the same time being paid less for doing the same job. This is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Transparent pricing among service providers will help women know whether they are getting a fair deal for services.”

    Dry cleaners, barbers and tailors have frequently been examined in studies on gender-based pricing and have been found to charge women more than men for the same services. Bush hopes the measure will make service providers take a second look at their prices and charge women more fairly.

    Last session, Senator Bush’s “pink tax” legislation repealed sales tax on feminine hygiene products. This latest push builds on Bush’s work to remove economic barriers for Illinois women.

  • Bush, Cullerton honored for protecting mental health funding

    bush 040417

    SPRINGFIELD – The Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois (ACMHAI) presented awards to Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for their efforts to protect mental health funding.

    Bush and Cullerton advanced legislation last year to push for greater local government consolidation.

    During negotiations, they learned that local health boards could be caught in the crossfire of potential government consolidation plans.

    They worked diligently to ensure local mental health dollars were protected by removing Community Mental Health Authorities from potentially disastrous effects.

    TC awd 040417

    Last year as the sponsor of House Bill 229, Bush worked to ensure funding for mental health and developmentally disabled are protected.

    “Consolidating local governments is good for Illinois. It saves taxpayer dollars and reduces government bureaucracy,” Bush said. “But I refused to allow potential cuts to mental health funding in return. We must always protect our most vulnerable residents, and ensuring local mental health providers are fully funded is a key part of doing so.”

    Cullerton, chief architect of the government consolidation model used in House Bill 4501, worked with ACMHAI to make sure DuPage County’s vulnerable populations were protected from unintentional consequences.  

    “The purpose of government consolidation is to streamline processes to make sure government is working in step with the needs of the people,” Cullerton said. “Government should be efficient and effective. But when we eliminate services for our most vulnerable residents, our efforts become counterproductive. I simply cannot stand for that.”  

    ACMHAI plans to continue working with Bush and Cullerton to advocate for state mental health funding.

    "Senators Bush and Cullerton have shown great leadership in their commitment to protect the $75 million in local mental health grant funding resources generated in local counties, townships and municipalities throughout the state of Illinois,” Debbie Humphrey, ACMHAI President said. “At a time when demand for mental health and substance abuse services is dramatically increasing while funding sources are shrinking, these valuable local funds serve as an important lifeline to those seeking access to treatment."

  • Budget cuts force Lake County domestic violence center to cut services

    safeplaceIt has been nearly two years since Illinois had a full budget. As a result, many human service providers have been forced to cut back on services and lay off staff. One organization that has been impacted is A Safe Place, a domestic violence support center in Zion that serves more than 15,000 individuals each year. 

    Since it was founded in 1980, A Safe Place has grown into a $2.2 million agency with seven offices across Lake County. Services include emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, legal advocacy, permanent housing, case management, individual and group therapy, mentoring programs, supervised family visitation and custody exchanges, and more.

  • Celebrating Women's History Month (VIDEO)

    Celebrating Women's History Month

    Women have always worked, but have often gone unrecognized for their influences within American culture. this video, members recognized individuals who have successfully challenged the role of women in both the labor force and business. By honoring trailblazing women in labor and business, various women were highlighted by their efforts to diminish the inequalities women face in the workplace.

  • Bush’s opioid legislation saves life of Springfield woman

    bush 022817SPRINGFIELD – A downstate woman's second chance at life is the latest success stemming from a 2015 state law giving police tools to literally bring overdose victims back from the dead. According to the Springfield Journal-Register, “Less than a week after being issued Narcan kits to save the life of someone overdosing on heroin or another opiate, a Springfield police officer has successfully used the drug in the field for the first time.”

    Since being elected in 2012, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) has made fighting opioid addiction and reducing opioid-related deaths major priorities. In 2015, Senator Bush championed “Lali’s Law,” which expanded access to Narcan and made it more accessible and affordable for law enforcement agencies like the Springfield Police Department.

    “Narcan has the ability to reverse overdoses and save lives,” Bush said. “If the Springfield police officer had not had a Narcan kit, this person would have likely died of overdose. This is why it is so important to increase access to Narcan, and it’s why I fought to make it easily accessible and affordable for Illinoisans.”

    Over the past few decades, opioid addiction has become a major problem throughout the state of Illinois. As of last year, Illinoisans were dying of heroin overdoses at twice the rate they were in 1999. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015 the opioid-related death rate in Illinois increased 120 percent.

    Senator Bush will continue fighting to reduce opioid addiction and increase access to lifesaving treatments.

    Read the full Journal-Register article here: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170224/springfield-polices-narcan-program-saves-first-life

  • Senator Bush votes to end Illinois’ budget impasse and fund human services

    bush 022817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) voted for legislation to end the state’s budget impasse, fund education and important human service programs and allow local governments to consolidate. The legislation is part of a compromise between Senate leaders from both parties to end the state’s nearly two-year budget impasse.

    “Today, the Illinois Senate did what the governor and House leaders have failed to do, put the people of Illinois ahead of political games,” Bush said. “Senators from both parties came together in an effort to end the budget impasse and finally move Illinois forward.”

    Senate Bill 6 provides spending authorization for the second half of FY2017. The stopgap budget expired on Jan. 1, leaving human services organizations and higher education without funding.

    “For nearly two years, Illinois has not had a full budget. The cost of inaction is great. Every day that goes by without a budget, $11 million is added to the state's bill backlog,” Bush said. “This is unacceptable. We should be funding domestic violence shelters, addiction treatment programs and higher education, not wasting money and adding to the state’s debt.”

    The plan to restore funding is part of the Senate’s budget and reform package of legislation, which includes Senator Bush’s local government consolidation proposal.

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

    budget ftr 021517

  • Senate Democrats join coalition to improve lives of Illinois women (VIDEO)

    womens rally 020817

  • Senator Bush’s local government consolidation legislation passes Illinois Senate

    bush 020817 sb3SPRINGFIELD – A local government consolidation measure passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) championed Senate Bill 3, which allows voters to abolish or consolidate local townships, reducing bureaucracy and saving taxpayer dollars.

    “Local government consolidation is long overdue,” Bush said. “With the senate’s passage, we are now one step closer to allowing voters to decide what type of government can best serve the needs of their communities.”

    Illinois has more than 1,400 townships. Currently, only three Illinois counties have a framework to consolidate, absorb or eliminate local townships. Because of Senator Bush’s past work on local government consolidation, Lake County is one of the three counties that allows for consolidation.

    Senate Bill 3 allows all 102 Illinois counties to consolidate local townships with voter consent. Senator Bush championed the same legislation last session as SB 388, but the measure died in the House.

    “Consolidating local governments will be good for Illinois. It will save taxpayer money and reduce government bureaucracy—two things Illinois desperately needs,” Bush said. “I urge the Illinois House to follow the senate’s lead and vote to allow local governments to consolidate.”

    Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate by a vote of 36-14. The legislation now awaits passage of the remaining bills tied to it.

  • Senate Democrats react to governor's State of the State address (VIDEO)

    gov sos 012517

  • New Senate session: swearing in, getting to work with term limits

    100thGAbegins

  • Top Ten New Laws for 2017

    top10for17 ftr

  • Lawmakers call on governor, AFSCME to continue labor negotiations (VIDEO, AUDIO)

    afscme ftr

  • Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

    manar avr 111616

  • Tax on tampons repealed in Illinois

    Tax on tampons repealed in Illinois

  • Bush’s legislation helps vets overcome addiction, supports Veterans’ Homes

    bush 052516SPRINGFIELD — Illinois drivers will have an opportunity to support Veterans’ Homes.  Veterans will have more options to seek treatment for addictions and the local veterans’ assistance commissions will have greater ability to partner with drug courts. Veterans seeking treatment will be helped under two new laws sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush.

    “The men and women who choose to be warriors for our country take on great personal risk and sacrifice,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “Too often, they are at an elevated risk of addiction. This law gives power to our local organizations and drug courts to collaborate and offer our veterans more options for better treatment.”

    The new law enacted by Senate Bill 3401 will allow veterans’ assistance commissions to provide mentoring, mental health and substance abuse programs in conjunction with Veteran & Service members Courts, that were specifically created to help veterans facing addiction.

    The governor also signed House Bill 6149, which lets Illinois drivers sign up to support veterans’ homes with a new specialty decal under the state’s streamlined universal license plate and decal system. Funds from the specialty decal will go toward the Illinois Veterans’ Home Fund, which supports the organizations that aid and care for veterans with disabilities.

    “The new universal license plate with specialty decal will be available for purchase next year. They are a great way to pledge financial support towards a worthy cause,” Bush said. “I encourage any driver who wants to honor those who served and sacrificed to consider the Veterans’ Home specialty decal.”

    The provisions under Senate Bill 3401 and House Bill 6149 take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Beginning that day, drivers may sign up for the Veterans’ Home specialty decal by completing the following steps.

    1. Visit:http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/motorist/licplate.html
    2. Scroll down the page and click on “Specialty Request / VSD 702.”
    3. This will bring up a new page. On this new page, print and complete the Specialty License Plate Form. Under the section “Name of Specialty Plate Being Requested,” write “Veterans’ Home Plate.”
    4. Mail the completed copy of the Specialty License Plate Request Form and a $26 check made out to “Illinois Secretary of State” to the address on the form.

    Please note that this form has to be mailed to the Secretary of State in Springfield at the office address stated on the form. This cannot be done at your local Driver Services Facility.

  • 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.

  • Police to receive increased training on domestic violence

    bush 0816SPRINGFIELD — To equip police investigators with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to respond to domestic violence as soon as they answer a call, the governor signed a proposal sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush that would provide additional training for law enforcement officers.

    “Domestic violence is often minimized and under reported, and we need to fight preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “More training will assure our officers are better equipped to identify domestic violence situations.”