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More police training on domestic violence passes General Assembly

bush 052516SPRINGFIELD — 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 General Assembly passed a proposal sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush in the Senate that would provide for additional training for law enforcement.

“By requiring more training, we’re sharpening our law enforcement officers’ ability to investigate these crimes. Domestic violence is stereotyped so often, and we need to fight preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake.

Currently, the law recommends but does not require police departments to coordinate domestic violence response training with service organizations and develop appropriate arrest procedures. The new training under the legislation is aimed at the prevention of further victimization, focusing on looking beyond the physical evidence of domestic violence and giving officers an understanding of the deeper psychological aspects of abusive relationships.

“Abusers need to know that our officers know what to look for,” Bush said. “When we make our investigators tougher, we make families safer.”

The legislation is House Bill 5538, which passed the Senate Wednesday. Having passed both chambers without opposition, it must be signed by the governor to become law.

Bush pushes for more police training on domestic violence

“Abusers need to know they can’t hide from the law.”

Bush pushes for more police training on domestic violenceSPRINGFIELD — To ensure more police officers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond to domestic violence as soon as they answer a call, State Sen. Melinda Bush advanced a proposal today that would provide for additional training for law enforcement.

“One of the worst parts of domestic violence is how difficult it is to investigate and prosecute when so many people involved may have totally inaccurate, preconceived notions of what an abuse situation looks like,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “By requiring more training, we’re giving law enforcement more ability to fight this crime.”

Currently, the law recommends but does not require police departments to coordinate domestic violence response training with service organizations and develop appropriate arrest procedures. The new training is aimed at the prevention of further victimization, focusing on looking beyond the physical evidence of domestic violence and giving officers an understanding of the deeper psychological aspects of abusive relationships.

“Abusers need to know that our officers know what to look for,” Bush said. “They need to know they can’t hide from the law.”

The legislation is HB 5538. Having passed the Illinois House 113-0, it is sponsored by Sen. Bush in the Senate. It passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee Wednesday and proceeds to the full Senate for consideration.

Bush’s township consolidation plan passes Illinois Senate (AUDIO)

bush consolVoters would decide whether local governments merge, dissolve

SPRINGFIELD — Responding to recent calls for more efficiency in local government, the Illinois Senate passed legislation Thursday by State Sen. Melinda Bush that would allow for the consolidation of township government with the approval of local voters.

“We’ve heard calls for township consolidation for many years,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “It’s important that as we pursue that, we preserve local control. This measure is an important compromise and I urge my colleagues in the House and the governor to make it the law.”

Senate Bill 388 would, among other things:
•    allow a township to merge with one or more adjacent townships.
•    allow a township to be dissolved and absorbed by two townships with which it shares a boundary.
•    allow a township which shares the same geographical area with a municipality to be dissolved by resolution and its duties adopted by the municipality.
•    Remove a barrier to the consolidation of townships by allowing counties that eliminate townships countywide via a petition and referendum process to retain their county board form of government, rather than transition to a commission form of government (as under current law).

Any dissolution or merging of townships would occur only after the township boards in question adopt a resolution calling for the question to be put before voters, and after a majority of voters approve a referendum to that effect at the next election.

Currently, the law doesn’t provide any method to merge or consolidate township government. Townships have only three statutory functions: Maintaining roads, assessing property and providing general assistance. There are 1,430 townships in Illinois, more than any other state.

The legislation is Senate Bill 388. It passed the Senate 53-0 and proceeds to the Illinois House for consideration.

Listen to Sen. Bush on SB 388:

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Monarch butterfly license plate legislation moves forward

monarchProposal will be first under new universal specialty plate law

SPRINGFIELD — To create a program to preserve the monarch butterfly in Illinois, State Sen. Melinda Bush put forth a proposal that would create a new butterfly-themed specialty license plate sticker.

“What we propose is fairly straightforward: The monarch butterfly needs milkweed plants to lay its eggs and feed itself, and our highway medians are the perfect place to cultivate them,” Bush said. “This lets drivers pledge their support toward preserving our state insect by giving them a little home that’s easy to reach by wing and hard to disturb on foot.”

The monarch population in Illinois has decreased 90 percent in the past 20 years due to changes in the creatures’ natural habitat.

A different law passed recently requires new specialty license plates to adhere to a standardized system to make recording plate numbers easier for law enforcement officers. If enacted, the new monarch plate stickers would be the first under that reimagined system.

“This proposal works in concert with new rules called for by the men and women who patrol our roads and it makes efficient use of our median strips to help preserve an important part and lovely part of our ecosystem,” Bush said. “I urge all my colleagues to support this innovative solution.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 2882. It passed out of committee yesterday and will be considered before the full Senate.

Sen. Melinda Bush

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31st Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Environment and Conservation; Revenue; State Government & Veterans Affairs; Committee of the Whole; Human Services; Commerce and Economic Development (Vice-Chairperson); Education.

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).