Senator Melinda Bush debates on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Special session costs won’t increase thanks to a measure sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that freezes reimbursements and salaries for General Assembly members.

The measure was signed into law today after Bush publicly called on the governor to save taxpayer dollars and sign the legislation.

“The special sessions the governor has demanded are expensive, costing taxpayers upwards of $48,000 each day,” Bush said. “I am pleased that the governor signed my measure to prevent his special sessions from becoming even more expensive.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates at previous levels. Without Bush’s measure, the per diem rate for legislators would jump from $111 to $142 and the mileage reimbursement rate would go from $0.39 per mile to $0.535 per mile.

“I encourage the governor to go one step further in saving money for Illinois taxpayers by disclosing his plans for his school funding veto and meeting with legislative leaders to negotiate a plan instead of wasting Illinois tax dollars on unnecessary special sessions,” Bush said.

House Bill 643 was sent to the governor on June 29 after it passed both chambers with bipartisan support.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Special session could cost taxpayers more money if the governor fails to sign legislation to freeze reimbursements.

“There’s a bill sitting on the governor’s desk that would freeze pay rates and reimbursements for legislators. It’s been on his desk since June 29,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), sponsor of the legislation. “The governor’s special sessions are needlessly expensive, costing taxpayers upwards of $48,000 each day. If the governor doesn’t sign this bill, the special sessions he’s demanding become even more expensive.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates at previous levels. If the governor does not sign the measure, the per diem rate for legislators will jump from $111 to $142 and the mileage reimbursement rate will go from $0.39 per mile to $0.535 per mile.

In addition, the initiative eliminates the automatic cost of living adjustment for legislators. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1 percent without the passage of a freeze.

“As legislators, we’re doing what we can to keep costs down,” Bush said. “The governor already vetoed a budget that cut government spending by $3 billion. The governor should rein in the costs of his special sessions by signing this bill.”

House Bill 643 was sent to the governor on June 29 after it passed both chambers with bipartisan support.  

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Category: Press Releases

GURNEE—Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) joined with local superintendents and community leaders to call on Governor Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1 into law. The bill fixes our state’s broken education funding system. Principals and other local officials joined in calling on local legislators to support the Evidence-Based Model for Student Success Act (otherwise known as SB1).

"Every child in Illinois deserves a high-quality education that sets them up for the American Dream,” said Senator Bush. “Here in Gurnee, and in too many other communities across Illinois, our schools are facing a crisis – the prospect of not being able to open their doors in the fall. The solution to this crisis is a simple one and one that’s nearly complete: Governor Rauner needs to sign SB1 into law and fix our state’s worst-in-the-nation school funding system."

Participants at today’s event included:

  • Mimi Rodman, Executive Director, Stand for Children Illinois
  • Catherine Finger, former Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127
  • Constance Collins, Superintendent, Round Lake Area School District 116
  • Jason Lind, Superintendent, Millburn District 24
  • Brian Harris, Superintendent of Schools, Barrington 220

“All kids, regardless of their zip code, deserve access to a high-quality education that prepares them for life,” said Rodman. “In the long term, SB1 ensures our children receive the quality education they need to live a prosperous life. In the short term, it ensures our schools open on time.”

Senate Bill 1 represents the first time a school funding overhaul has passed both chambers of the legislature in 20 years. The governor has threatened to veto the bill. Under SB1, no district would lose a penny of state or local resources and new funds would be strategically invested toward the most underfunded schools. The enacted budget includes $6.7 billion for evidence-based funding. However, without SB1 being enacted, the state has no evidence-based formula in place and, therefore, no authority to expend those funds.

“For generations, our state’s inequitable school funding formula has held our students back,” said Dr. Finger, former superintendent of Grayslake High School District 127. “SB1 is a clean break from the failed status quo. We know that a good education gives every child in Illinois a fair shot at prosperity. It’s time for our leaders in Springfield to put politics aside and focus on our children. It’s time for Governor Rauner to sign SB1 into law.”

Lake County is home to one of the most diverse regions of school districts in the state. Some districts are severely underfunded, while others are more fortunate. Area leaders agree on one critical point, which they echoed today: Illinois schools are depending on SB1.

“Our schools in Round Lake and across the state, from the suburbs to downstate, need certainty and stability regarding funding and opening our doors on time,” said Dr. Collins, superintendent of Round Lake Area School District 116. “SB1 is the only bill that provides us that certainty. We will not get our August 10 payment unless we have an evidence-based model in place. SB1 is the only evidence-based model that has passed the General Assembly.”

“When SB1 becomes law, our students will be the true winners,” said Dr. Lind, superintendent of Millburn District 24. “We need to ensure every student has the opportunity for a quality education that prepares them for the future. SB1 makes that investment for all Illinois children.”

“The evidence-based funding model is good for Barrington and it’s good for all districts across the state,” said Dr. Harris, superintendent of schools, Barrington 220. “Barrington wouldn’t lose a penny of state or local funding – no district would. The new formula will direct new resources to students across Illinois who need them the most.”

About SB1: The Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act (or SB1) that recently passed the General Assembly would fix our state’s unfair and inequitable school funding system. SB1 would bring a more equitable system that ensures all children receive the education they deserve.

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Category: Press Releases

Lake County floods - photo credit Lake County, IL governmentGRAYSLAKE, IL – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Representative Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake Beach) issued a joint statement in response to the governor’s visit to Lake County to tour flood sites:

“Lake County residents have been working to pick up the pieces after major flash floods hit the area. The governor has not declared a state of emergency for Lake County, so residents with devastating property damage and no flood insurance have been unable to get access to low-interest loans that help people rebuild.

“Today, the governor will be in Lake County touring flood sites. The devastation experienced by our constituents over the last few days needs to be seen to be understood. Clean up from this historic flooding is going to take all of us working together.

“With more flooding expected to occur this weekend, we urge Governor Rauner to do what Governor Walker has already done, declare a state of emergency and call in the National Guard to provide much-needed relief to flood victims. Lake County residents need this help immediately.”

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Photo Credit: Lake County, IL Government

Category: Press Releases

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