SPRINGFIELD – To expand access to birth control – especially for women with limited financial resources – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is championing a measure to allow people to receive contraceptives without visiting a doctor.

051920210588“Birth control is a basic health care service and should be treated as such,” Bush said. “Providing greater access to contraceptives is providing a more equitable health care system.”

Many women struggle to access hormonal contraceptives, which historically have only been prescribed through a physician. They may not know where to go, or are unable to afford doctor’s appointments. Pharmacists, however, are typically much more accessible than a physician.

To give women easier, more affordable access to birth control, Bush is pushing a measure to allow pharmacists to issue hormonal contraceptives, including oral tablets, vaginal rings and topical patches.

Under the proposed legislation, pharmacists who wish to participate would have to meet several educational requirements to provide them with the best tools to help patients complete a self-screening risk assessment. Once the assessment is finished, the pharmacist would provide counseling and education on all methods of contraception, then help the patient choose a form of birth control. 

Currently, 16 states and Washington, D.C. allow pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal birth control.

“It’s simple: Birth control saves lives and prevents unplanned pregnancy,” Bush said. “Family planning and reproductive health care is a personal choice that should not be limited by economic or social status.”

Bush has been a steadfast advocate for women’s reproductive rights since first joining the General Assembly. She has spearheaded a number of measures to protect women’s health, including the monumental 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which repealed outdated abortion laws that have been blocked by the courts and ensured that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care and not as a crime.

House Bill 135 passed the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois has more lead lines that bring drinking water into homes than any other state. To make sure communities have the money to replace those lines and keep drinking water safe, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) has introduced the Lead Service Line Replacement Notification Act in the Senate.

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“Lead service lines are a health threat that poisons our children, undermines our residents’ confidence in our municipal government and costs billions of dollars,” Bush said. “This measure is a feasible and equitable path forward that would require all cities in Illinois to tackle a problem that we know harms Black and Latinx communities the most.”

Bush was joined by House sponsor Representative Lamont J. Robinson (D-Chicago), and representatives from the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Pipes Trade Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council for a press conference Thursday to discuss how the General Assembly can eliminate toxic lead in drinking water across the state. 

Contained in House Bill 3739, the Lead Service Line Replacement Notification Act requires water utilities statewide to replace all lead service lines and creates a low-income water assistance program to help fund financial assistance and water projects that include lead pipe replacement.

As more cities across the country have seen increased amounts of lead in their drinking water – including Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, Cicero and Rockford – the health risk has also increased. Aside from keeping the harmful chemical out of people’s water, Bush’s measure would create up to 11,000 jobs and $115 billion in economic activity each year.

“Supporting this bill is supporting safer drinking water and more jobs,” Bush said. “It is absolutely critical we get this done now.”

The measure is assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.  

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – People who are prescribed opioid drugs would also be given opioid overdose reversal medication under a measure lead by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

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“Opioid overdoses have been occurring at alarming rates in Illinois,” Bush said. “Expanded access to overdose reversal drugs – like naloxone – will save lives.”

The measure requires a prescriber to offer a co-prescription for naloxone hydrochloride – or a similar drug – to patients given an opioid drug. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.

More than 2,000 people in Illinois lost their lives to opioids in 2019 alone, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Furthermore, Cook County has seen more than double the number of overdose deaths – potentially caused by isolation and lack of support during the pandemic.

Since first entering the General Assembly, Bush has been a steadfast advocate on fighting the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2015, she championed legislation to make naloxone more accessible and affordable to law enforcement agencies. Senate Bill 2535 is another step toward saving lives from the deadly effects of opioids.

“The opioid epidemic is a serious and complicated issue that only continues to get worse,” Bush said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed vulnerable populations – such as those with opioid use disorders – and we must tackle this crisis head on.”

Bush’s proposal awaits consideration before the full Senate.

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – Running for elected office calls for a lot of long days, late nights and busy weekends. It can be discouraging for people with children – especially single parents – to chase their desire to serve their communities.

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To enable more women – and all parents – to seek public office, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) spearheaded a movement to allow campaign finances to pay for child care.

“The window is narrow for women who have young children to run – and it’s time to change that,” Bush said. “No one should have to choose between serving their community and being a parent.” 

Senate Bill 536 would allow campaign funds to be used for child care or dependent elder adult care for not only candidates – but also staff and volunteers.

Currently, Illinois campaign finance law does not expressly say whether campaign funds may be used to pay child care expenses. However, there is a common fear among candidates that child care could be considered as a campaign finance violation if deemed a personal expense.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35% of Illinois legislators are women – a number 6% higher than the national average. However, while the number in Illinois is greater than the national average, Bush said she would like to see more female representation in Springfield – and believes that starts with better access to child care.

“I always had a desire to help and serve others, but I couldn’t do so until my son was much older,” Bush said. “We must support parents who want a seat at the table. By prioritizing working parents, we’re prioritizing help for all working families.”  

The measure passed out of Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for final consideration.

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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