052115CM0553SPRINGFIELD — Federal funding from the Violence Against Women Act is a critical part of combating domestic violence and rape at the local level, says Pat Davenport, executive director of A Safe Place, a Lake County-based domestic violence relief agency.

“Eighty percent of the clients we work with have been sexually assaulted,” Davenport said. “We like to say domestic violence is separate from sexual assault, but they go hand in hand.”

Under current Illinois law, survivors of rape may need to pay fees for their own rape investigations, something disallowed under the VAWA, and a fact Davenport called unethical. To remove financial responsibility for their own rape investigations and ensure federal funding for sexual assault investigations is not jeopardized, State Sen. Melinda Bush cooperated with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass legislation out of the Illinois Senate today.

“With this proposal, we’re simply saying that victims of sexual assault should not be the ones to pay for things like testing rape kits, or other administrative fees,” Bush said. “This legislation ensures we remain compliant with the federal Violence Against Women Act and I’m proud to work with Attorney General Madigan to sponsor it in the Senate.

The legislation is House Bill 3848. Having passed the Senate without opposition, the amended version returns to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

052215CM0579

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

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