Senator Melinda Bush speaks at the Reproductive Health Act bill signingSPRINGFIELD – The Reproductive Health Act, which repeals outdated abortion laws that have been blocked by the courts and ensures that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care and not as a crime, was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker this morning.

“The Reproductive Health Act sends a clear message that we trust women to make their own decisions,” said State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), chief sponsor of Senate Bill 25. “Women can now rest assured that regardless of what happens at the federal level, they will have access to comprehensive reproductive health care here in Illinois.”

The Reproductive Health Act provides a critical update and modernization to Illinois’ outdated law. It codifies regulations that reflect current standards of medical practice and repeals state laws that are not in effect and not enforced because of court rulings.

“Women across the country are seeing their rights taken away,” Bush said. “Thank you to Gov. Pritzker for being a fierce advocate of reproductive rights and for taking this final step in guaranteeing the right to an abortion in the state of Illinois.”

The Reproductive Health Act:
• repeals felony penalties imposed on doctors for offering abortion care and some contraceptives
• removes the requirement that a married woman be required to get her husband’s consent to an abortion
• lifts disciplinary penalties adopted decades ago aimed solely at physicians who perform abortions
• protects assisted reproductive techniques like in-vitro fertilization
• treats the cost of abortion like all other medical expenses
• requires insurance companies (not multi-state plans) to provide coverage for abortions without cost-sharing requirements


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Private sector workers who experience sexual harassment and discrimination will have greater protections under the law thanks to a major piece of legislation from State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that passed out of the Illinois Senate today.

“This bill gives victims of workplace harassment and discrimination more protections and ensures they are able to seek justice,” Bush said. “We’re not only changing the law—we’re changing the culture. We’re standing with victims and saying enough is enough.”

Senate Bill 75 also includes major reforms to the state’s ethics investigation process, including making the process more transparent and giving additional rights to victims of harassment and discrimination who file ethics complaints.

Bush introduced the measure after hearing from victims, advocates and members of the business community during the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention’s hearings last year. She served as co-chair of the task force.

“Preventing sexual harassment and discrimination and ensuring our workplaces are safe is not only good for workers—it’s good for business,” Bush said. “With these measures in place, workers will have more protections under the law, and employers will be more proactive about educating employees and preventing these situations.”

Senate Bill 75 is an omnibus bill, which:
• Limits the use of contract provisions intended to prevent an employee from reporting sexual harassment, such as non-disclosure agreements, arbitration clauses and non-disparagement clauses for cases involving harassment, discrimination and retaliation
• Makes harassment against contract employees illegal (currently, these employees do not have legal protection against sexual harassment)
• Clarifies that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if they are perceived to be part of a protected class (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), even if they are not
• Allows victims of gender-related violence to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning and other assistance
• Prevents a union representative from representing both a victim of sexual harassment and the alleged harasser in a disciplinary proceeding
• Requires hotels and casinos to provide employees who work in isolated spaces with panic buttons for use if they are sexually harassed or assaulted
• Requires the Department of Human Rights to make a sexual harassment training program available for employers to provide to their employees and a separate sexual harassment training program specifically for restaurants and bars
• Gives victims of sexual harassment, discrimination, or harassment statutory rights regarding investigations by the Executive and Legislative Inspectors General
• Requires state officials, employees, and lobbyists to complete annual training on harassment and discrimination prevention in addition to sexual harassment
• Requires local governments to report and provide an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment made against local elected officials

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush presenting the Reproductive Health Act on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – The Reproductive Health Act, which repeals outdated abortion laws that have been blocked by the courts and ensures that reproductive health care is treated like all other health care and not as a crime, passed out of the Illinois Senate today.

“As states across the country pass dangerous laws restricting access to abortion, we in Illinois are standing with women and guaranteeing access to reproductive health care,” said State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), chief sponsor of Senate Bill 25. “There’s a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the next few years. The Reproductive Health Act guarantees that women in Illinois have the right to make decisions about their bodies, regardless of what happens at the federal level.”

The Reproductive Health Act provides a critical update and modernization to Illinois’ outdated law. It codifies regulations that reflect current standards of medical practice and repeals state laws that are not in effect and not enforced because of court rulings.

“Women across the country are seeing their rights taken away,” Bush said. “To them we say, ‘You will not be discriminated against here. You have rights here. We respect your right to make decisions about your body here.’”

The Reproductive Health Act:
• Repeals felony penalties imposed on doctors for offering abortion care and some contraceptives
• Removes the requirement that a married woman be required to get her husband’s consent to an abortion
• Lifts disciplinary penalties adopted decades ago aimed solely at physicians who perform abortions
• Protects assisted reproductive techniques like in-vitro fertilization
• Treats the cost of abortion like all other medical expenses
• Requires insurance companies (not multi-state plans) to provide coverage for abortions without cost-sharing requirements


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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Victims of revenge porn could seek civil damages from their perpetrator under a bill from State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that passed in the Senate today.

“When a person shares private photos of another individual without their consent, it can ruin that person’s life,” Bush said. “While we can’t undo the damage revenge porn causes, we can help provide victims with the ability to hold perpetrators accountable for the harm they cause.”

Senate Bill 1507 allows victims of revenge porn to recover economic, non-economic and punitive damages from individuals who disseminate or threaten to disseminate private sexual images without their consent. It also gives victims more privacy protections in court documents by allowing them to have their names redacted or use a pseudonym.

“Distributing intimate images of an individual without their consent can ruin a person’s reputation, hurt career prospects, and lead to emotional distress and loss of income,” Bush said. “This measure will help victims recoup some of the financial and emotional costs of revenge porn.”

The measure was introduced after a criminal indictment was brought against disgraced former state Rep. Nick Sauer following allegations that he used sexually explicit images of his ex-girlfriend to ‘catfish’ other men.

Having passed both chambers, the bill will be sent to the governor for approval.

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Category: Press Releases

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