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SPRINGFIELD — Lake County will join an economic development group that provides low-interest loans to business owners and housing developers without any burden on taxpayers after legislative efforts by State Sen. Melinda Bush.

Following talks in the General Assembly, Bush, D-Grayslake, successfully pushed for Lake County’s inclusion in the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority (UIRVDA), one of the state’s regional development authorities. Such groups issue bonds to fund loans to businesses and housing developer projects. Local developers pay off the bonds directly to investors.

“Membership in the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority will open doors for small business owners and property developers in Lake County,” Bush said. “This is an economic development effort that encourages investment in local concerns and doesn’t put taxpayer money at risk.”

Regional development authorities like the UIRVDA operate on the fees they charge borrowers, with no state funding. It’s a mechanism that allows RDAs to help local businesses without any burden on taxpayers, said David Northern, executive director of the Lake County Housing Authority.

“They are operationally self-supporting,” Northern said. “In short, it doesn't cost anything to have access to UIRVDA's financing powers.”

The legislation is House Bill 417. Having passed the Senate today, it will return to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

2015.04.09 Zion press eventSPRINGFIELD — Cities would have the power to issue fees to companies that store nuclear waste in their communities under a proposal by State Sen. Melinda Bush that passed the Illinois Senate today.

“This is about responsibility, and giving power to our local communities, rather than companies who occupy their land for a few years and then leave it unusable,” Bush said.

Local leaders in Zion have called for the legislation. The community has struggled in the wake of the 1998 closure of the Zion Nuclear Power Station. Now owned by Exelon, the facility is undergoing a years-long decommissioning process, and in the meantime stores spent nuclear fuel from the plant.

Due to the nature of the plant’s security and environmental concerns, the lakefront land it sits upon is largely unavailable for redevelopment, a fact that has cut deeply into property tax revenues for Zion. In the wake of the plant’s closures, Zion lost an estimated 55 percent of property tax revenue, and has had to make up the difference through regular rate increases.

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Category: Press Releases

Sen. Melinda BushSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate voted to expand access to emergency, life-saving medication, announced State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

“Heroin use among our youth is a serious problem in the suburban areas I represent,” Bush said. “In the couple of weeks between this measure passing out of committee and today’s vote, Lake Zurich police saved another life with naloxone hydrochloride. By making opioid antidotes like Narcan available by prescription at pharmacies, we give families the same chance to stop a heroin overdose and save a life.”

Dubbed “Lali’s Law,” Senate Bill 1466 would make Narcan more readily available to pharmacies and provide for programs to help pharmacists to train families in its use in the event of an emergency. The name honors the ongoing efforts of Live4Lali, a drug addiction education and awareness not-for-profit founded by Chelsea Laliberte and her mother. The family formed the organization after Alex “Lali” Laliberte, Chelsea’s brother, died of a heroin overdose in 2008. The group has promoted awareness of and access to the drug.

Delivered via a intranasal or intramuscular injection, Narcan blocks the effects of opioids like heroin on the brain. When administered quickly enough, the fast-acting drug can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. Medical professionals report little to no negative side effects in the event it is used in error.

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Category: Press Releases

Melinda Bush speaks in Zion

ZION — “Cities should have the power to collect an impact fee if a company stores its nuclear waste in their community,” State Senator Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “Zion was a partner in welcoming the nuclear plant.  But now that the plant and the jobs are gone, the utility company needs to be a good neighbor and a positive force in the community. I want to give local governments the ability to hold companies accountable for the impact of leaving nuclear waste behind.”

Zion is the site of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station, owned by Exelon, which closed the facility in 1998. The facility stores spent nuclear fuel from the plant and is currently undergoing a long decommissioning process.

In the wake of the plant’s closure, Zion lost an estimated 55% of property tax revenue.  Even with property tax increases, the community has yet to make up the huge hole left in its budget.  Due to the land’s use as a waste disposal site, options for redevelopment are extremely limited.

“The dramatic loss of Equalized Assessed Valuation has driven the Zion tax rate significantly higher as more of the tax burden is pushed on to residential properties,” said Chris Clark, Superintendent of the Zion-Benton Township High School District. “Property values have also reached an all-time low. The fact that Zion has become a long-term storage facility for spent fuel, and the inability of Zion to utilize prime lake front real estate for development, have greatly hindered the community’s recovery.”

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Category: Press Releases

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