SPRINGFIELD - A creative new retirement savings plan passed both chambers of the General Assembly this week and will now move to the governor for signature into law.

The Secure Choice Savings Program, cosponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), will give employees access to portable savings accounts if their employer is a business with 25 or more workers that has been in existence for at least two years and doesn’t already offer employee retirement plans.

“There are 2.5 million Illinois workers who may retire in poverty because they do not have access to even the simplest of retirement plan options through their employers,” Bush said. “This plan allows them more control over their financial futures.”

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SPRINGFIELD - A measure that would change the minimum wage in Illinois, resulting in an $11 minimum wage by 2019, passed the Illinois Senate today.

The Senate chose to act on the will of Illinois voters, more than two thirds of whom supported the increase in a question on the November mid-term election ballot.

“Illinoisans deserve a living wage,” said State Senator Melinda Bush. “Today the Senate acted in favor of working families, thanks in no small part to the resounding voice of Illinois citizens.”

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SPRINGFIELD - A measure that would help Illinois businesses retain workers in difficult economic times passed both chambers of the General Assembly yesterday and has been sent to the governor for his approval. 

State Senator Melinda Bush is a co-sponsor of the “work-share” proposal, which allows the Illinois Department of Employment Security to offer partial benefits to employees when an employer cuts the hours of at least 10 percent of its staff and shares the remaining work among the affected employees. The partial benefit allowance will help offset the wage reductions and skilled employees will still be able to keep their jobs.

The state also saves money that would have otherwise been paid to laid-off workers drawing full benefits.

“Work-sharing is good for the Illinois economy because it keeps employees in the workplace,” Bush said.

Under the work-share legislation, businesses that find themselves struggling in a weak economy could temporarily reduce hours –  rather than lay off workers – and the workers could collect reduced unemployment benefits while staying on the job part time.

“I have always been a strong advocate for programs that encourage both economic development and the revitalization of our economy,” said Bush.  “Protecting Illinois jobs remains a priority for me.”

Similar programs, also known as "short-time compensation," have been successfully implemented in 17 other states, including Iowa and Missouri.

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IPC AwardRGRAYSLAKE - The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) this week presented State Senator Melinda Bush with the IPC Lifesaver Award in recognition of the Senator’s continued commitment to protecting Illinois residents’ health and safety.

The honor was bestowed on state senators and representatives who demonstrated their dedication to the IPC by supporting a dedicated funding source for the state’s only poison center.

“Each year, the IPC takes more than 82,000 calls from Illinois residents with almost half of the cases involving small children,” said IPC Medical Director Michael Wahl, M.D., who presented Senator Bush with the Lifesaver Award on behalf of the organization. “Senator Bush’s support allows the IPC to continue to provide critical information in emergency situations for families and health care providers around the state.   We extend our deepest gratitude to Senator Bush and the ILGA for their efforts to save the IPC.”

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