Senator Bush receives an award from the Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of IllinoisSPRINGFIELD – The Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois (ACMHAI) presented awards to Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for their efforts to protect mental health funding.

Bush and Cullerton advanced legislation last year to push for greater local government consolidation.

During negotiations, they learned that local health boards could be caught in the crossfire of potential government consolidation plans.

They worked diligently to ensure local mental health dollars were protected by removing Community Mental Health Authorities from potentially disastrous effects.

Last year as the sponsor of House Bill 229, Bush worked to ensure funding for mental health and developmentally disabled are protected.

“Consolidating local governments is good for Illinois. It saves taxpayer dollars and reduces government bureaucracy,” Bush said. “But I refused to allow potential cuts to mental health funding in return. We must always protect our most vulnerable residents, and ensuring local mental health providers are fully funded is a key part of doing so.”

Cullerton, chief architect of the government consolidation model used in House Bill 4501, worked with ACMHAI to make sure DuPage County’s vulnerable populations were protected from unintentional consequences.  

“The purpose of government consolidation is to streamline processes to make sure government is working in step with the needs of the people,” Cullerton said. “Government should be efficient and effective. But when we eliminate services for our most vulnerable residents, our efforts become counterproductive. I simply cannot stand for that.”  

ACMHAI plans to continue working with Bush and Cullerton to advocate for state mental health funding.

"Senators Bush and Cullerton have shown great leadership in their commitment to protect the $75 million in local mental health grant funding resources generated in local counties, townships and municipalities throughout the state of Illinois,” Debbie Humphrey, ACMHAI President said. “At a time when demand for mental health and substance abuse services is dramatically increasing while funding sources are shrinking, these valuable local funds serve as an important lifeline to those seeking access to treatment."

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush on Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – A downstate woman's second chance at life is the latest success stemming from a 2015 state law giving police tools to literally bring overdose victims back from the dead. According to the Springfield Journal-Register, “Less than a week after being issued Narcan kits to save the life of someone overdosing on heroin or another opiate, a Springfield police officer has successfully used the drug in the field for the first time.”

Since being elected in 2012, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) has made fighting opioid addiction and reducing opioid-related deaths major priorities. In 2015, Senator Bush championed “Lali’s Law,” which expanded access to Narcan and made it more accessible and affordable for law enforcement agencies like the Springfield Police Department.

“Narcan has the ability to reverse overdoses and save lives,” Bush said. “If the Springfield police officer had not had a Narcan kit, this person would have likely died of overdose. This is why it is so important to increase access to Narcan, and it’s why I fought to make it easily accessible and affordable for Illinoisans.”

Over the past few decades, opioid addiction has become a major problem throughout the state of Illinois. As of last year, Illinoisans were dying of heroin overdoses at twice the rate they were in 1999. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015 the opioid-related death rate in Illinois increased 120 percent.

Senator Bush will continue fighting to reduce opioid addiction and increase access to lifesaving treatments.

Read the full Journal-Register article here: http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170224/springfield-polices-narcan-program-saves-first-life

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush headshotSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) voted for legislation to end the state’s budget impasse, fund education and important human service programs and allow local governments to consolidate. The legislation is part of a compromise between Senate leaders from both parties to end the state’s nearly two-year budget impasse.

“Today, the Illinois Senate did what the governor and House leaders have failed to do, put the people of Illinois ahead of political games,” Bush said. “Senators from both parties came together in an effort to end the budget impasse and finally move Illinois forward.”

Senate Bill 6 provides spending authorization for the second half of FY2017. The stopgap budget expired on Jan. 1, leaving human services organizations and higher education without funding.

“For nearly two years, Illinois has not had a full budget. The cost of inaction is great. Every day that goes by without a budget, $11 million is added to the state's bill backlog,” Bush said. “This is unacceptable. We should be funding domestic violence shelters, addiction treatment programs and higher education, not wasting money and adding to the state’s debt.”

The plan to restore funding is part of the Senate’s budget and reform package of legislation, which includes Senator Bush’s local government consolidation proposal.

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Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address Wednesday:

“The point of the governor’s budget address is to allow the governor to present a balanced budget to the General Assembly,” Bush said. “It is the governor’s constitutional responsibility to propose a balanced budget, and for the third year in a row, Governor Rauner failed to provide a plan.”

“With every day that goes by without a budget, another $11 million is added to the state’s bill backlog. And while I thought the governor presented a nice vision for Illinois, he failed to provide any actual solutions for how to achieve his goals. If there was one takeaway from the address, it’s that Governor Rauner will not be taking the lead to end the budget impasse. It’s up to the Senate to fix the state’s budget mess.”

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Category: Press Releases

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