Sen. Bush reacts to Sen. Toi Hutchinson's statement in support of repealing the tampon taxAssociated Press - April 21, 2016 | Original article

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — Illinois lawmakers are advancing proposals that would make feminine hygiene products and contraception more affordable for women.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure on Thursday that would exempt feminine hygiene products from the state sales tax. The plan heading to the House is a part of a national movement to eliminate the so-called "pink tax."

The average statewide sales tax is 6.25 percent but can be as high as 10.25 percent in Chicago.

House lawmakers narrowly approved a plan that would make it easier and more affordable for women to access birth control by a 61-52 vote. Bill sponsor Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook said the plan puts the state in line with the Affordable Care Act.

Category: In The News

State Sen. Melinda BushChicago Tribune - March 18, 2016 | Original article

By Tribune news service

A new bill proposing a special Illinois license plate to help preserve the monarch butterfly has been proposed in the Illinois state Senate.

The plan by state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, is to allow motorists to pay a surcharge for stickers to indicate their support for the monarch, the offical insect of Illinois.

The monarch population in Illinois has decreased 90 percent in the past two decades because of changes in habitat.
Illinois state symbols

Take a look at some of Illinois' state symbols, as identified on the state's official website.

Bush says monarchs need milkweed plants to lay eggs and feed. Interstate highway medians could be developed with the plant so the butterfly could visit the milkweeds with little outside distraction.

Read the full article here.

Category: In The News

Chicago Tribune - Feb. 17, 2016 | Original article

By Dan Moran

Gov. Bruce Rauner's mix of calls for budget cuts, tax hikes and increased funding for education drew a mix of reactions from Lake County legislators who took in his second budget message Wednesday in Springfield.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said she came away from the address thinking that "a long-term, partisan agenda does nothing for the charities that are closing or the college students that are dropping out because of a lack of grants.

"These people need a real, balanced budget proposal, right now," Bush said in statement. "Whether it happens via the line item veto authority the governor already has, or via good faith negotiation between the governor and legislative leaders, it needs to happen immediately."

But Bush did commend the governor for his remarks on education.

Read the full article at the Lake County News-Sun.

Category: In The News

Sen. Bush speaks on the floor of the SenateExaminer.com - Jan. 29, 2016 | Original article

By Darryl Grant

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in his second state of the state address, on Wednesday, held to the same agenda from the playbook that he has used since his election to lead this solidly blue state. Focused on limits to collective bargaining, workmen’s compensation reform, and a pro business environment, they have little chance of being passed by a General Assembly that is solidly controlled by Democrats.

Rauner faces intense criticism for not agreeing to a budget for this fiscal year, unless his measures are agreed upon, and as a result, has garnered stinging criticism. Two of which are glaring: the state’s largest social services agency, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, is ready to cut over 30 programs that serve 4,700 clients, due to lack of state funds, and 130,000 low-income college students who need tuition money awarded them through a state sponsored program, totalling $370 million.

These, and more unpaid bills, represent a $6 billion dollar deficit, a figure which is 12 percent of state spending, a significant increase from last year’s amount of $4 billion. As CNBC has noted, “Without a formal budget, Illinois has been limping along by extending parts of last year's spending plan, settling on piecemeal appropriations and battling out the impasse in the courts,” a pattern that is unsettling for residents, as well as politicians.

A long standing unfunded pensions deficit of $112 billion --- one-quarter of the Illinois GDP, and nearly three times that of state revenue, also has to be addressed. But, in his thirty minute address Rauner struck the first salvo by saying, "If we don't offer a competitive environment for businesses, pretty soon the unions won't have any more jobs to unionize and the trial lawyers won't have any more businesses to sue."

In a move that some see as stagecraft, or as a way to drive a wedge between the State Senate president, John Cullerton, and the powerful Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, he gave almost voluble support to the former without mentioning the latter. All part of what his staff says is an effort to help the pension deficit crisis.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, of suburban Grayslake, in her statement, using blunter terms, said, “The problem this past year has not been with the governor’s initiatives, but with his actions,” and that “After a year that pulled the rug out from under seniors, children and the needy, I hope his call for cooperation is real. It is time for Illinois to move past partisan bickering.”

Read the original article in full here.

Category: In The News

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