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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Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorTo listen to Senator Bush’s floor speech, click here:

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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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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Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a balanced budget:

“Illinois has been brought to the brink of collapse because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s refusal to do his job. The past two years without a budget have devastated our schools, universities, human service and public health providers, not to mention the countless Illinoisans who have been directly affected by the chaos caused by this administration. Today, the Senate Democrats chose to restore stability and certainty to Illinois by passing a budget that includes the same level of spending as the governor’s proposed budget, but unlike the governor’s plan which had $5 billion in deficits, this budget is actually balanced. I’m proud to be among the group of senators who chose to put people before politics and end the state’s budget crisis. It’s now up to the House to move this bill forward so we can send a balanced budget to the governor’s desk.”


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