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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 encourages small businesses to apply for second round of relief

pexels artem beliaikin 929245GRAYSLAKE – To help small business owners dealing with the devastating financial impact of COVID-19, State Senator Melinda Bush is encouraging them to apply for the second round of Business Interruption Grants.

“Small businesses make Lake County such a great place to live. Seeing so many forced to close their doors has been heartbreaking,” Bush said. “I am pleased the state has prioritized this much-needed financial relief and hope business owners will take advantage of the assistance.”

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.

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