State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, in her local downtown Grayslake office Monday. (Jim Newton /News-Sun)Lake County News-Sun - May 15, 2018 | original article

By Jim Newton

A new Illinois Senate resolution, sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake, asks the Wisconsin state legislature to reconsider the state’s abandonment of multiple environmental regulations to pave the way for the planned Foxconn plant near Racine.

Bush, a Democrat, said Monday Wisconsin’s actions raise major concerns about flooding and air and water quality. For example, she said she’s heard from several residents in Gurnee concerning the project’s potential to worsen local flooding along the Des Plaines south of Racine.

“Obviously air quality is really important, but my biggest concern with this, if built, is that it will be able to skirt federal and state requirements and we will have more flooding,” Bush said in her Grayslake office Monday.

Of considerable local concern is that part of the deal passed by the Wisconsin General Assembly allows Foxconn to fill wetlands without a permit, a reversal of longstanding multi-jurisdictional efforts to utilize wetlands located within the Des Plaines River watershed as a major tool to reduce river flooding.

Racine County, the Foxconn site and Lake County all sit in the Des Plaines watershed, Bush said, and flooding in the Des Plaines River watershed and throughout Lake County has caused billions of dollars in damage in recent years, including record flooding in July.

“The fact that Wisconsin leaders are willing to sacrifice the health of humans and the environment for jobs is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Lake County residents deserve better. I hope Wisconsin leaders will put people before profits and reconsider the Foxconn deal.”

The Senate resolution, passed by Illinois senators last week, also asks Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water, potential flooding and other ecological impacts that might result from the Foxconn deal.

Mike Warner, executive director of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, said that group is keeping a close eye on the Foxconn approval and development process.

“The Foxconn development site is in the headwaters of the Des Plaines River, so any impact (such as wetland filling) without mitigation would eventually come down into Lake County and affect us,” Warner said Monday.

The resolution urges Wisconsin leaders to put more thought into the “serious environmental and public health concerns that may threaten Illinoisans” as a result of the planned Foxconn Technology Co. plant planned for Mount Pleasant, near Racine.

“The decisions from Wisconsin leaders and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to allow Foxconn to skirt environmental protections are irresponsible and short-sighted,” Bush, a Democrat, said. “The environmental impacts don’t stop at the Wisconsin border. Lake County residents will be affected, but because Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations, we don’t know the full impact.”

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Category: In The News

The Village of Mundelein's police chief, Eric Guenther (R), and the City of Dixon's former police chief and current city manager, Danny Langloss (L), backed the deflection bill at a Senate hearing in Springfield.Chicago Tribune - April 19, 2018 | original article

An Illinois Senate panel has approved a bipartisan plan that authorizes local police departments and community partners to develop local strategies to fight the Illinois opioid crisis.

The Senate Human Services Committee on April 10 voted, 8-0, to advance legislation, Senate Bill 3023, that encourages local law enforcement to "deflect" from criminal arrest individuals who have overdosed or who have substance use problems, directing them instead into substance use disorder treatment.

The "Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act," sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), provides a "roadmap" for partnerships between law enforcement, substance use treatment providers, and community members to guide the development of deflection programs in their communities, according to one of the bill's chief proponents.

"Traditionally, local police have had two choices when faced with someone who they believe may have a substance use disorder-to arrest or to not arrest," said Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) President Pamela Rodriguez. "With the opioid crisis raging across the state, deflection provides a third option, to connect people with community-based substance use treatment services that address their underlying substance use problems. This bill lays out a roadmap to municipalities, offering guidance, program features, and a range of options."

The number of Illinois overdose deaths from all opioids increased by 82% from 2013 to 2016.

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Category: In The News

Senator Melinda BushDaily Herald - March 9, 2018 | original article

By Russell Lissau

State Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake is organizing a demonstration at the state Capitol to show unity with students protesting gun violence.

Bush has invited other senators and their staffers to join her in walking out of the Capitol at 10 a.m. Wednesday. That's when students across Illinois and the nation are set to leave their classrooms for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 people killed by a gunman Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Students at Barrington High, Lake Park High, Libertyville High, Stevenson High, Batavia High and Mundelein High are among those planning walkouts Wednesday, March 14.

Administrators at some schools have threatened disciplinary action against students who walk out of classes or leave their buildings. At other schools, however, administrators are supporting the teens' rights to protest and viewing the demonstrations as real-life civics lessons.

Bush said she's met with students from Grayslake and the Round Lake area in recent weeks about gun violence at schools and the planned protests, and she wanted to participate.

"I stand firmly with students who exercise their constitutional right to speak out," Bush said in her invitation, which she shared with the media. "If you have heard these students and believe that we must have honest, bipartisan conversations about gun safety, I am asking you to join me in a show of solidarity."

The state Senate is in session next week. The state House is not.

Category: In The News

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to reduce opioid abuse and “doctor shopping” was signed into law today.

Senate Bill 772 requires prescribers of controlled substances to check the Prescription Monitoring Program database to see if a patient has been prescribed a controlled substance by another doctor prior to writing an initial prescription. This would make it harder for individuals to obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors, a practice known as doctor shopping.

“As elected officials, we should be doing everything we can to prevent addiction and reduce opioid abuse,” Bush said. “Requiring doctors to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing opioids is a simple way to ensure doctors aren’t overprescribing and patients aren’t doctor shopping.”

In 2015, Bush sponsored the legislation that required pharmacies to file daily reports of all controlled substances they dispense. Until now, however, prescribers of controlled substances were not required to check the Prescription Monitoring Program database before writing prescriptions. Studies show that as few as 14 percent of physicians always check the database before prescribing controlled substances.

“This common-sense change has the potential to prevent overdoses, save thousands of lives and advance the shared goal of ending the opioid epidemic,” Bush said. “I look forward to continuing to pass measures that will prevent addiction and help those currently affected by the opioid crisis.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Category: In The News

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