Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Lake County school districts, some of which have been shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, will see a significant influx of funding under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in Springfield last week.

“All children should have access to a quality education regardless of their zip code,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “With Senate Bill 1, we created a more equitable school funding formula to aid school districts desperately in need of additional dollars, while ensuring that at a minimum we guaranteed current funding levels for every school district.”

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. Illinois’ school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property wealth.

“Senate Bill 1 not only ensures schools will be funded more equitably, it also provides property tax relief for high tax school districts,” Bush said. “Lake County has some of the highest property taxes in the country. I urge Governor Rauner to provide property tax relief for Lake County residents by signing Senate Bill 1 into law.”

Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – released an analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures last week. The analysis showed potential funding increases for local school districts under Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

It also provides extra support for the neediest districts in the quest for adequate funding, and it offers property tax relief.

Again, no school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $5.52 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.95 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.62 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $645,463
•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $353,068
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $307,304
•    Warren Township High School District 121 – $282,621
•    Big Hollow School District 38 – $230,977
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 – $215,152
•    Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50 – $192,036
•    Antioch Community Consolidated School District 34 – $90,190
•    Gavin School District 37 – $62,538
•    Millburn Community Consolidated School District 24 – $40,925
•    Winthrop Harbor School District 1 – $22,473

In addition, under Senate Bill 1, those that live in the school districts with the highest property taxes would be eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. The following districts are projected to qualify for property tax relief:

•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $3.96 million
•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $3.61 million
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $2.71 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $2.27 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.82 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.05 million
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District – $109,162

These estimates are based on the funding levels proposed by the Illinois House of Representatives. As a result, these numbers may be higher than what the school districts will receive. To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Illinois legislators will not receive a planned, automatic increase in mileage reimbursements or per diem rates thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that passed in the Illinois Senate today.

“Today marks the 700th day since the state of Illinois has had a budget,” Bush said. “At a time when human service providers are being forced to shut their doors, state universities are laying off professors and administrators are wondering if schools will be funded and be able to open in the fall, it would be inexcusable for legislators to receive a pay increase.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates for the upcoming year. In addition, the initiative eliminates the planned FY 18 cost of living adjustment for the members of the legislature and other offices set by the Compensation Review Board. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1% without the passage of a freeze.

“Middle-class and working families rarely see pay raises, let alone automatic pay increases,” Bush said. “There is no reason that legislators should receive automatic cost of living adjustments.”

Having passed both chambers with bipartisan support, House Bill 643 now goes to the governor’s desk.


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorTo listen to Senator Bush’s floor speech, click here: http://bit.ly/2rh2E7R.

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois property owners will get much-needed tax relief thanks to a measure that passed in the Illinois Senate today.

State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) spoke in support of the measure during the Senate floor debate and urged her Republican colleagues to start standing up to Governor Rauner and do the right thing for the people of Illinois.

“We voted for property tax relief last week, and only two Republican senators supported the measure. We voted on a Republican budget plan, and the Republicans wouldn’t support it. Today, we again voted for property tax relief, and only three Republicans supported it. The Senate Republicans have shown time and again that they aren’t even brave enough to vote for their own ideas. It’s absurd,” Bush said.

“These are the same people who tell the Democrats to stand up to Speaker Madigan. He isn’t dictating our decisions. The Senate Democrats have repeatedly stood up and taken politically risky votes because it’s the right thing to do. It’s about time for Republicans to walk the walk and stand up to Governor Rauner, who has done nothing but derail budget negotiations and move the goal posts every time the Senate passes the reforms he’s spent the past two years demanding. Enough is enough.”  

Senate Bill 484 establishes a freeze for levy years 2017 and 2018 for school districts. With its passage, Senate Democrats have now passed pension reform, education funding reform, local government consolidation, property tax freezes, term limits on legislative leaders and a balanced budget plan – all of which Rauner said must be passed before he’ll sign a budget.  

“The Senate has passed a balanced budget and all of Governor Rauner’s non-budgetary reforms,” Bush said. “After two years of Rauner’s fake governing, it’s time for the governor to drop the folksy act, quit making excuses and passing blame and actually start doing the job he was elected to do.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to curb opioid abuse and “doctor shopping” advanced out of the Illinois Senate today with unanimous support.

Senate Bill 1607, sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), would require prescribers of controlled substances to check the Prescription Monitoring Program database to see if a patient has been prescribed a controlled substance by another doctor prior to writing a script. This would make it harder for individuals to obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors, a practice known as doctor shopping.

“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States,” Bush said. “We should do everything in our power to reduce opioid addiction and overdose. This legislation would make it harder for individuals to shop for doctors and obtain multiple opioid prescriptions. This is a key step toward tackling the opioid epidemic we’re facing in Illinois.”
    
In 2015, Bush sponsored the legislation that required pharmacies to file daily reports of all controlled substances they dispense. Under the current law, however, prescribers of controlled substances are not required to check the Prescription Monitoring Program database before writing prescriptions. Studies show that as few as 14 percent of physicians always check the database before prescribing controlled substances.

“We have the opportunity to prevent overdoses and save thousands of lives,” Bush said. “But the monitoring program will only be effective if there is universal use of the database by both prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances.”

Senate Bill 1607 will now go to the House for consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

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