GRAYSLAKE — State Sen. Melinda Bush issued the following statement as members of the Illinois House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of House Bill 1, the Heroin Crisis Act, on Wednesday.
“Citizens have demanded we address this public health crisis,” Bush said. “This comprehensive plan to reduce addiction and death must not be delayed further. I will cast my ‘Yes’ vote to override this veto and make this the law of the land, and I urge all my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”
Among other provisions in the proposal is a section referred to as “Lali’s Law,” which would expand access to heroin overdose antidotes at local pharmacies. The law is so named for Alex “Lali” Laliberte, whose sister Chelsea formed the anti-heroin organization Live4Lali after her brother’s death by heroin overdose in 2008.
Live4Lali has been promoting the wider distribution and awareness of Narcan, an antidote that immediately halts the lethal chemical effects of a narcotics overdose with no adverse side effects and can be used safely with minimal training. Law enforcement officers in Lake County carry the small kits and have already reported several deaths averted by their use over the past year.
The legislation is House Bill 1. It proceeds to the Senate, where it requires a three-fifths supermajority vote to override the governor’s veto.
State Senator Melinda Bush promoted Attorney General’s legislation
SPRINGFIELD — A new law that will prohibit health care providers from directly billing sexual assault survivors for the collection of evidence related to their attacks will take effect next year after Governor Bruce Rauner signed it Monday. House Bill 3848, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), was passed by the General Assembly unanimously and signed into law Monday.
The new law, put forth by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, will ensure compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) and remove a barrier that may prevent sexual assault survivors from going to the hospital after the crime.
“I strongly encourage anyone who is sexually assaulted to go quickly to a hospital emergency room for necessary care and to collect evidence of the crime,” Madigan said. “This law assures that in the aftermath of a sexual assault, a survivor will not be sent a bill for those critical ER services that play an important role in helping law enforcement make an arrest and work to achieve justice for the survivor.”
The invasive examinations that follow a sexual assault can last four to six hours and involve the collection of physical evidence from the survivor’s body. The “rape kits” are then sent to a crime lab for testing. The results provide a critical part of a criminal investigation. The new law would ensure that those who submit to those tests won’t also need to pay for them.
“The legal process survivors face often seems overwhelming,” Bush said. “This will ensure that survivors can come forward without worrying about shouldering the financial burden of an investigation.”
The law brings Illinois into compliance with the VAWA, which requires Illinois to certify that that sexual assault survivors are not being billed for medical forensic examinations as a condition of receiving federal grant funds. Failure to comply with VAWA could result in the loss of these federal funds which are used to provide services to victims, to train law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and to train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), who work with victims to gather evidence and help them begin the recovery process.
The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.
SPRINGFIELD — State Sens. Linda Holmes and Melinda Bush issued the following statements on their support of legislation dealing with social services and higher education grant funding.
Holmes and Bush voted in favor of House Bill 2482, which would maintain the current threshold individuals must meet in order to qualify for social services like in-home elder care. Gov. Rauner proposed increasing the threshold, which would disqualify thousands of applicants.
“We are not a state that denies care to the elderly and the sick by claiming they are magically no longer in need,” Holmes said. “Services like the Community Cares Program, which helps seniors continue to live in their homes, actually save the state money down the road. Kicking people off of these services is the wrong thing to do for so many reasons.”
“I oppose taking such a callous approach to finances,” Bush said. “By making it harder to qualify for social services, the governor is attacking an important social safety net for a vulnerable population, all for cuts that we know will cost us more in the foreseeable future.”
Bush and Holmes also voted in favor of MAP grant funding at the same level proposed by Gov. Rauner, which would constitute a 2.25 percent increase over the previous year. The governor vetoed an earlier spending plan that included a higher level of funding.
“For families sending their proud high school graduates off to college this month, these grants are absolutely crucial,” Holmes said. “We’re meeting Governor Rauner halfway by adopting funding at these levels. Today I took action to ensure the grants are there for the middle class families whose students have worked hard to get into college.”
“Governor Rauner made the right call when he proposed an increase to these grants, and the wrong one when he held these funds hostage during this budget process,” Bush said. “Though I would have preferred to fund them at the higher level the Senate approved earlier, it is more important that they are released to the families whose students need them to get a quality education.”
Gov. Rauner affirms truth in taxation legislation
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a plan by State Sen. Melinda Bush to ensure news of possible tax changes is more readily accessible to the public.
“I want to express my gratitude to Gov. Rauner for joining with the General Assembly in affirming this unopposed, common sense plan,” Sen. Bush said. “By posting notices online in addition to print advertising, we disseminate information about important tax hearings more quickly, and give constituents the most opportunity to register support or opposition to a proposal.”
Current truth in taxation laws require taxing bodies to post notices in newspapers that compare existing property tax levies to their proposed levies. The new law adds a requirement to taxing districts with websites to post such notices on their webpages.
The new requirements add no additional cost to taxpayers and enable easier sharing of proposals via new media like Twitter and Facebook.
The legislation was Senate Bill 792. It will become effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Sen. Melinda Bush
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).