02282018CM0952RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush’s (D-Grayslake) legislation to overhaul the process of investigating ethics complaints at the Capitol was signed into law this morning by the governor.

“This is a vitally important first step in ensuring claims of sexual harassment and discrimination are taken seriously and investigated properly,” said Bush, Co-Chair of the Senate Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Task Force. “We know our current culture won’t change overnight. But unless we take a stand and say ‘Time’s Up’, nothing will change in Springfield.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush presents her bill in committeeSPRINGFIELD – A measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to overhaul the process of investigating ethics complaints at the Capitol advanced out of the Senate with strong bipartisan support.

“This is about changing the process of how ethics complaints are handled so that we can guarantee that any person who comes forward and files a claim with the legislative inspector general knows that their complaint is being reviewed in an independent, transparent and timely manner,” said Bush, Co-Chair of the Senate Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Task Force.

“Time’s up in Springfield,” said Bush. “No one should have to experience sexual harassment and discrimination, but if it occurs under the dome, their claims needed to be taken seriously and perpetrators need to be held accountable.”

House Bill 138 makes several changes to the Legislative Ethics Commission and the Legislative Inspector General, including but not limited to:

•    Allow the Legislative Inspector General to investigate claims independently, without first getting approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission    
•    Better defined and transparent reporting of complaints at the Commission and before the Inspector General;
•    Requirements that the Commission shall appoint an Acting Inspector General with 45 days;
•    Creates a backstop so that if an extended vacancy occurs in the office of the LIG, the Inspector General for the Auditor General would have jurisdiction over the complaints;
•    Creates a search committee comprised of former judges and prosecutors who will search for and recommend inspector general candidates to the Ethics Commission;
•    Requires a public hearing and opportunity for public input before the adoption of any new commission rules;
•    Allows the Inspector General for the Secretary of State, through the Attorney General, to file complaints with the Executive Ethics Commission regarding lobbyist sexual harassment;
•    Allows the EEC to suspend the registration of a lobbyist or lobbying entity for which the lobbyist is employed for up to 3 years if the lobbyist violates the sexual harassment prohibition;
•    Extends statute of limitations for filing a discrimination or sexual harassment claim with the Department of Human Rights from 180 days to 300 days.


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) released the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a bipartisan, balanced budget:

“The budget passed by the Senate was responsibly balanced by including $600 million in reasonable pension savings and cuts to state administrative costs, while increasing investments to education, human services, public colleges and universities and transportation and infrastructure projects.

“We rejected the governor’s proposal to shift the state’s financial responsibilities to local governments, a plan that would have saved state tax dollars but would have required municipalities to raise property taxes to make up for the cost shift.

“The Senate’s budget includes more than 400 million in new dollars for K-12 schools and early childhood education and more than $46 million for College of Lake County, which will help reduce the property tax burden for Lake County residents and allow our students to get the best education possible.

“This budget includes funding to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged during last year’s floods and money to fund transportation projects that would help address traffic problems in Lake County. This budget is good for Lake County residents and I was proud to support it.”


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Zion would be able to apply for tax breaks for housing nuclear waste under a measure from State Senator Melinda Bush that passed unanimously out of the Senate today.

“For years, Zion has shouldered the burden of housing spent nuclear waste—a burden that has led to a loss of jobs and tax revenue and 100 acres of lakefront property that has remained undeveloped,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “By adding spent nuclear waste sites to the list of qualifications for an enterprise zone, Zion can apply for tax breaks and incentives that can help attract new businesses to the area and make up some of the lost revenue.”

House Bill 156 adds inactive nuclear powered electrical generation sites as one of the possible three criteria that an area must meet to be certified as an enterprise zone, which would allow Zion to qualify for tax exemptions.

“It’s been 20 years since the Zion Nuclear Power Station was shut down, and the effects have been devastating for the community,” Bush said. “It’s time to provide some relief to Zion and help spur economic development in the area.”

Because the Zion nuclear plant is inactive, it does not qualify for tax exemptions for power-generating facilities. Currently, the plant in Zion is the only nuclear power plant in the state that’s no longer operating.

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Category: Press Releases

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