Senator Bush

May 1, 2013

Dear Friends,

 

As we move into the final weeks of regular legislative session, Springfield is becoming a busier and busier place. We have already passed hundreds of bills from the Senate onto the House of Representatives for consideration, and it has reciprocated in full. The next three weeks will be a very exciting time, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to represent all of you at the Capitol.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me either through my website or by calling one of my offices via the contact information at the bottom of this newsletter.

 

Sincerely,
Senator Bush
Senator Melinda Bush
31st District – Illinois

 

Telephone Town Hall

 

On April 24, I hosted a telephone town hall from Springfield. We reached out to over 25,000 households to invite residents to participate in an interactive discussion on state and district issues. If you participated in the call, I thank you for your time and your insight on issues affecting our district. I am working diligently to address all your concerns and respond to your questions. If we missed you, please sign up here so that we can make sure to include you next time!

 

Hot Topics

 

Senator Bush on the Senate FloorI am happy to report that a great deal of progress has been made on serious issues facing our state.

 

With all stakeholders finally at the negotiating table, the Illinois Senate and the We Are One coalition reached a compromise on pension reform. Stemming from these meetings, everyone agreed to a fair proposal that will ensure the stability of Illinois’ pension system for years to come. The proposal has become part of Senate Bill 2404, the pension reform bill I proudly co-sponsored in February. While Speaker Madigan also introduced and passed a pension proposal out of the House last week, I believe this bill is the only bill that saves money while being fair to those involved. Most importantly, it stops the practice that caused this mess – Illinois legislators stealing from the pension fund to pay for other programs. The bill passed the Senate 40-16 on May 9.

 

There have also been several meetings on concealed-carry legislation. While the House tested the waters by voting on each potential measure individually, the Senate has been working behind the scenes to come up with a bipartisan solution that meets the needs of both metro and downstate citizens.

 

Based on the work we have done, I am optimistic a bill will pass prior to the June 9 Appellate Court deadline. A Senate vote on concealed-carry legislation is expected as early as this week.

 

There have also been extensive discussions and hearings on the expansion of gaming. These discussions produced Senate Bill 1739 – a comprehensive bill that addressed casinos, race tracks, video gaming and various aspects of the gaming industry. Unfortunately, this bill also diverted the majority of new revenue generated by gambling to special interests. This is an all-too-typical part of Springfield politics. While I voted against this bill, it passed on May 1.

 

After the vote I issued the following statement:

“Fiscally sound gaming expansion legislation would relieve our state’s financial burden by guiding the vast majority of its new revenue to funding education and paying down our debts. This legislation diverts too much money to special interests. It is simply a continuation of the culture that I vowed to fight when I came to Springfield.”

 

Bills of Interest

 

One of my goals in serving as your state senator is to find ways to increase efficiency and reduce redundancy in our state government. Most recently, I am sponsoring a constitutional amendment that eliminates the lieutenant governor position from Illinois government. The elimination of this job could save our state a projected $2 million per year.

 

I am also backing a new economic development agenda that capitalizes on our state’s business opportunities by creating a public-private partnership between the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Illinois business leaders. Doing so would help set state economic development policies and strategies, and has proved successful in Indiana, Iowa and elsewhere.

 

After the governor proposed severe cuts to education, I felt it necessary to look to new ways to improve our public schools as efficiently as possible. I have since sponsored various pieces of education-based legislation.

 

Senator Bush with a class from the districtSenate Joint Resolution 32 creates an Advisory Committee on Education Funding, tasked with making recommendations on how to implement a funding system that is adequate, equitable, prepares students for success after high school, and supports teachers and school leaders. I am a strong supporter of this education funding initiative and invite you to sign my petition to support education funding reform!

 

I have also sponsored bills addressing other education funding issues, reducing bullying and increasing recognition of the signs of abuse and neglect in children.

 

Lake County has one of the worst foreclosure rates in the state and a housing market that is unable to meet the demand for affordable housing. I have helped pass various foreclosure protection measures and affordable housing legislation this year and am looking forward to hosting a Mortgage Relief Project this summer for residents of the 31st District who are looking for foreclosure prevention solutions. Details are still being finalized, but I will include additional information in my upcoming newsletters.

 

Update from the District

 

A six-year, $12.62 billion transportation construction program was announced earlier this month. Nearly 30 road and bridge projects will be completed throughout District 31. In addition, over $1 million has been awarded to improve taxiways at Waukegan Regional Airport. I am thrilled that we can grow our economy and infrastructure by creating jobs that enhance transportation opportunities.

 

I also had the opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion with the superintendents in Lake County’s 31st Senate District. The group discussed district issues, pension reform, budgets and what their various goals were for the future of their educational community. This was a wonderful dialogue and a great next step for strengthening the lines of communication between schools and their districts’ elected officials.

 

I want to thank those of you who participated in my recent legislative survey. Your input is vital to serving our district in Springfield. If you have not already participated in the survey, you may do so here.

 

Lastly, we are always improving our ability to keep you informed of the latest legislation and district news. To stay up to date, please “like” our Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@SenatorBush), and visit our website. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Springfield!

 

 

District Office

34121 US Highway 45, Suite 224 • Grayslake, IL 60030

847-548-5631 (Phone)

 

Springfield Office

M122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-7353 (Phone)

 

www.SenatorMelindaBush.com/

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-7353

District Office:
10 N. Lake St., Suite 112
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 548-5631