042715 js 0045CL CAROUSELLake County News-Sun - April 28, 2015 | Original story

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, has initiated a bill that would allow trained pharmacists to prescribe anti-overdose drugs to family members of those at risk of a fatal overdose from heroin or other opiates.

The legislation is named "Lali's Law" in remembrance of Alex "Lali" Laliberte, who died in December 2008 from an overdose involving heroin and other drugs.

His sister, Buffalo Grove resident Chelsea Laliberte, has become a major advocate and influence in local opiate initiatives, including the program that trained Lake County police departments on the use of naloxone, a drug that counteracts opiate overdoses.

Since Christmas, police in Lake County have been credited with saving 10 lives through the use of the drug.

The Lali's Law legislation was passed unanimously in the Illinois Senate and Bush is now lobbying for it to be passed on its own by the House or to be included in an omnibus bill addressing heroin abuse and prevention.

Bush said the legislation is backed by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office and Lake County government officials.

If it becomes law, Bush said her hope is that family members who might not go to a doctor to talk about a loved one's drug abuse or addiction may obtain naloxone or a similar drug through a pharmacist and potentially save lives, opening the door for the addicts to then "hopefully overcome their drug problems."

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Category: In The News

Sen. Bush joins Lake County activists and professionals to promote Narcan access

Hoy - April 27, 2015 | Original article

By Marina Klauke

(This article originally appeared in Spanish.)

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS - The Illinois Senate approved a proposal Thursday that would permit the sale of Narcan, the antidote that saves the lives of those suffering overdoses of heroin or other opioids such as medication for chronic pain.

Illinois is one step away from the pharmacy sale of the antidote that reverses the effects of an overdose of these types of drug.

Senator Melinda Bush (D-31) was one of the forerunners of this proposal, and on Monday explained that the measure was approved unanimously in the Senate, and that approval in the House would allow the availability of the medicine naloxone, known commercially as Narcan, in pharmacies.

Bush made the announcement in front of the offices of Live4Lali, a group promoting access to the antidote, and that provides help to families of addicts and offers training in the use of Narcan.

As she explained, Narcan is an automatic device, injected subcutaneously in the person suffering overdose, and acts as an antidote that reverses the effects of the attack in order to buy time for the individual to be taken to a hospital for appropriate treatment.

"This proposal would allow anybody to go to a pharmacy, get training to use this medication and obtain a prescription at the pharmacy to have naloxone en their homes in case there's any member of the family, or a friend who might need it," Bush explained.

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Category: In The News

2015.04.09 Zion press event

April 27, 2015 - Lake County News-Sun | Original Article

by Dan Moran

A bill working its way through the Illinois General Assembly this spring would allow Zion to impose impact fees for the storage of spent fuel at the lakefront nuclear plant that shut down in 1998 and continues to undergo decommissioning.

The bill passed through the State Senate by a 36-20 vote on April 23 and was assigned the next day to the House Rules Committee. If enacted, the measure would permit Illinois communities to "establish and collect a nuclear storage impact fee from the entity that operated a nuclear facility within the boundaries of the municipality" if a plant ceased generating electricity on or before the act's effective date.

That definition would include the Zion Station, which sits between Shiloh Boulevard and 29th Street east of Sheridan Road. The 257-acre property contains a reported 1,500 tons of spent, radioactive fuel rods that were initially stored in pools and have been transferred to steel-and-concrete dry casks since the formal decommissioning began in September 2010.

The bill's sponsor in the Senate, Democrat Melinda Bush of Grayslake, estimated that if the measure becomes reality, it could deliver $4 million to $5 million for Zion annually – or roughly a quarter of what the plant delivered in property taxes toward the end of its useful life.

"We've got 63 casks of nuclear waste down there, and the half-life for that is 10,000 years," Bush said on Monday. "If you're going to leave nuclear waste in a community and you expect it to shoulder the burden, there's a cost for that."

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Category: In The News

Lake County News-Sun - Feb. 18, 2015

By Jim Newton

Indications in Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address Wednesday that his proposal would include major cutbacks to municipal funding drew quick and harsh reactions from several Lake County leaders.

"Instead of fixing the state, he's coming after local governments," Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said Wednesday afternoon. "I'm not happy at all. Gurnee has its house in order — we have a AAA bond rating, no local property tax and exceptional services. I don't know why he's decided to pick on us."

Rauner's budget, Kovarik said, would force Gurnee to consider cutting staff, resulting in service declines and a possible increase in emergency response time.

"I was very hopeful about the new governor. I'm so disappointed," she said. "He's ignoring everything at the state level and coming after the local guys."

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said she expected a backlash from municipalities when she heard Rauner planned to ask for a 50 percent reduction in the Local Government Distribution Fund, which collects money from several sources and is redistributed back to local governments.

"It could cause property taxes to go up. If you're getting less from the state, then you have to cut services," Bush said. "He's talking about cutting these funds in half from last year."

Bush also expressed concerns about potential cuts to "the working poor and mentally ill people, those who don't have a voice."

"I was hoping to hear something more like the (former Republican Gov.) Jim Edgar style of speech, more holistic," Bush added. "This was just about cuts."

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-29, of Deerfield, said some aspects of the governor's budget plan are "simply unacceptable."

"I know Illinois is experiencing a budget crisis, but DCFS has been underfunded for years," she said. I'm gravely disappointed Gov. Rauner did not make abused and neglected children a higher priority. Cutting the agency's budget by more than 10 percent is simply unacceptable."

Bush said she doesn't see anything in the governor's plan that would require contributions from the wealthy, middle class or blue-collar workers.

"Everybody knows there is trouble (with the state's financial condition)," Bush said. "I don't disagree with that. But we have to meet in the middle."

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Category: In The News

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