SPRINGFIELD – When a person with a mental health condition calls 911, they don’t always need the hospital – but are typically taken to an emergency room rather than the mental health facility they require. State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) championed a new law that allows EMS workers to take patients where they’ll most benefit.

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“Imagine going through a mental health crisis, then being taken to an emergency room, rather than a place that can actually help you,” Bush said. “That’s going to cause anger and frustration – let alone waste time that could be used to begin treatment.”

Currently, EMS providers can only take a patient to an emergency room, where a medical professional can then determine if they would be better suited for a mental health facility. To bypass the extra, often costly and unnecessary trip, the new law allows direct transport to proper assistance. 

EMS workers would have the opportunity to request such a bypass if the patient has no immediate life-threatening injury or illness, is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and does not have an obvious need to be seen by emergency room personnel.

Behavioral health patients are increasingly putting pressure on emergency departments by occupying emergency rooms at disproportionate rates due to a limited number of psychiatric inpatient beds, limited community resources or a lack of access to care. Not only does this put a burden on overflowing emergency rooms – especially in the age of COVID-19 – it also can be financially cumbersome for patients.

“Even with insurance, being admitted to the emergency room can be very expensive,” Bush said. “I am pleased we have ensured people can now receive the fastest treatment possible without unnecessary fees.”

The law was signed by Governor JB Pritzker Friday. It takes effect immediately.

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SPRINGFIELD – A no-contact order typically instructs a defendant not to have any in-person contact with a victim. However, a law championed by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) will no longer allow them to hound their accuser via text message, email or social media.

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“When a person pursues a no-contact order against someone, there is nothing stopping the perpetrator from sending threatening texts or leaving harassing voicemails,” Bush said. “In the age of technology and online dating, far too many people have experienced unwarranted communications after drawing the line.”

Electronic contact – which includes texting, emailing and calling – will now be considered a violation of a person’s stalking no-contact order under Bush’s law. If a person were to break the order, they would face the same repercussions as they would for in-person contact.

Under previous law, electronic contact is not considered means of correspondence. Without the clarification found within Senate Bill 1677, a stalker could contact someone virtually and harass them without facing consequences. 

“Once a no-contact order is in place, no one should have to worry about hearing from their abuser,” Bush said. “As technology evolves, so too must the measures we take to help people feel safe.”  

Senate Bill 1677 was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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GRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging local businesses to apply for the second round of broadband grants to help mend the digital divide throughout Lake County.

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“No student should have to miss out on learning, no parents should have to miss out on work, and no person in general should have to miss out on all the benefits broadband offers on a daily basis,” Bush said. “The COVID-19 pandemic further showed us how important internet is for a person’s daily well-being.”

The Office of Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program is designed to increase access, adoption and use of high-speed internet access through the lens of digital equity and inclusion. To further these efforts across all ten economic development regions of the state, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Broadband is launching the next READY notice of funding opportunity, with another $250,000 available for grants.

The Broadband READY program is part of a comprehensive Digital Equity Package to boost broadband capacity while addressing existing broadband equity gaps. The READY program and other investments to enhance community planning and equitable implementation will complement the Connect Illinois program, a $400 million plan to deliver universal access to high-speed internet statewide.

Funding can be used to expand immediate broadband connectivity, conduct outreach and engagement to identify current digital inequities, and establish next steps forward. Its aim is to create a digital inclusion ecosystem through regional collaboration among institutions of higher education, planning councils, community and economic development organizations, schools, libraries, health care and local leaders, and other related stakeholders.

“We must work to ensure no one falls behind solely because they lack internet access,” Bush said. “I encourage organizations across the 31st District to apply for a grant to help us bridge the digital divide.”

The application deadline for the second round of READY grants is Oct. 4, 2021. Visit the Illinois Office of Broadband website for information on eligibility criteria or application assistance.

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SPRINGFIELD – A steadfast advocate of a woman’s right to choose, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement after Mississippi’s attorney general asked the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade to restrict abortion access:

“There’s a war against women and their right to choose going on across the country, and it’s appalling how many public officials are contributing to it.

“Abortion is just like every other medical procedure and must be treated as such. Women’s right to make personal and fundamental choices about their bodies must be protected. It is an essential right of health equality, equity and justice.

“I am in complete dismay of the actions and words of the Mississippi attorney general. While I know I can go to sleep each night knowing women in Illinois will always be protected from having their rights stripped away, it pains me to know all women across our country don’t have the same freedoms.”

Bush championed a law in 2017 that ensures Illinois women would still have access to safe and legal abortions should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. She also led the monumental 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which repealed outdated abortion laws that have been blocked by the courts and ensured that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care and not as a crime.

 

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

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