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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.

Bush’s contraceptive coverage plan signed into law

bush pink taxSPRINGFIELD — To ensure that women have a wide variety of choices in how they approach their reproductive health, the governor signed into law a plan co-sponsored by State Sen. Melinda Bush that extends insurance coverage to almost all approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products.

“One of the most important aspects of a woman’s health is how she handles reproductive issues,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “This measure brings us in line with federal health reforms and gives women the power to choose without worrying about exorbitant cost. We must have parity in our health care system, and we know that for women to truly have equality, they must have choices.”

In addition to extending coverage to nearly all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, the new law clarifies existing statute and brings it into compliance with federal coverage standards. Insurance companies must offer at least one product, drug, or device of a particular therapeutic equivalent version with no cost-sharing, and insurance companies would also be required to provide 12 months of contraceptive at one time. Insurers must also provide an expedient and convenient review process to ensure coverage.

The legislation was House Bill 5576. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Bush calls for compromise on budget legislation

bush 050516SPRINGFIELD — To open schools on time, fund universities, maintain road projects and protect the state’s most vulnerable, State Senator Melinda Bush called on the General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner to pass stop gap funding measures.

“The legislation we’re about to debate in Springfield reflects a compromise for both sides,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “We have a choice this week between fighting for ideology or coming together to fulfill our duty to students, businesses and the people who need our help the most. We must make the right choice.”

A wide-ranging stop gap package includes an increase of $760 million to state schools, including increases to early childhood education at a level proposed by Governor Rauner, $1 billion to higher education to cover operational costs and tuition grants that have gone unpaid during the budget impasse, operational funds for state agencies to ensure facilities such as prisons can remain open, funding for Department of Transportation road projects and $650 million in funding for human services that include programs like autism relief, addiction treatment, and aid to those with mental illness, developmental disability and the blind and aged.

“It is unfortunate that we’re here at the eleventh hour debating a stop gap measure, but it isn’t too late to do what Illinoisans have been clear in calling on us to do: Our jobs,” Bush said. “I call on the governor to do his.”

The General Assembly convenes tomorrow to consider the legislation.

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).