Senator Melinda Bush presents a bill during a committeeSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush is urging Wisconsin leaders to consider the serious environmental and public health concerns that may threaten Illinoisans as a result of the planned Foxconn Technology Company plant in Racine.

“The decisions from Wisconsin leaders and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to allow Foxconn to skirt environmental protections are irresponsible and short-sighted,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The environmental impacts don’t stop at the Wisconsin border. Lake County residents will be affected, but because Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations, we don’t know the full impact.”

As part of the deal passed by the Wisconsin General Assembly, Foxconn can discharge dredged materials or fill wetlands without a permit. Racine County, the Foxconn site and Lake County all sit in the Des Plaines watershed. Flooding in the Des Plaines River watershed and throughout Lake County has caused billions of dollars in damage in recent years, including record flooding last July.

“The fact that Wisconsin leaders are willing to sacrifice the health of humans and the environment for jobs is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Lake County residents deserve better. I hope Wisconsin leaders will put people before profits and reconsider the Foxconn deal.”

SR 1600, which passed out of the Senate Environment Committee today, also asks Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water, potential flooding and other ecological impacts that might result from the Foxconn deal.

“With this resolution, Illinois commits to protecting people over profits, by not waiving similar environmental regulations for projects coming into our state,” said Colleen Smith, Legislative Director, Illinois Environmental Council.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush presents her bill during a Senate committee hearingSPRINGFIELD – A task force would study the extent to which opioids are being overprescribed in Illinois under a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that advanced out of a Senate committee today.

"There's no easy way to solve the opioid crisis in Illinois," said Bush (D-Grayslake). "In order to really get to the root of the problem, we have to take a well-rounded approach and come at the problem from all angles."

HB 4707 creates the Prescription Drug Task Force to study the extent of over prescription of opioids to patients and make recommendations to address the issue. The Task Force will consist of legislators, the Department of Human Services, health care organizations, law enforcement and parents.

"This task force will allow us to hear from experts across the state and come up with the best-possible legislative approaches to ending the opioid epidemic in Illinois," Bush said.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Young people struggling with addiction or severe mental illness may soon see additional options for treatment thanks to a bill from Senator Melinda Bush that passed out of the Senate today.

“Early detection and treatment can often determine whether or not a person is able to pursue their goals, stay in the workforce, and lead a healthy, productive life,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “This pilot creates a youth-focused, community support program that’s intended to treat mental illness early on and stabilize young people.”

Seventy-five percent of severe mental health disorders manifest in young people and adolescents, but it takes on average 10 years for a person to be properly diagnosed.

“Untreated mental illnesses and addiction can completely sideline a person, leaving them less likely to pursue school or participate in the workforce,” Bush said. “Early investments in treatment and community-support programs will save money in the long run and will help individuals struggling with mental illness and addiction stay on track.”

Senate Bill 2951 creates the Early Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Act and requires the Department of Health and Family Services to create two pilot programs for Medicaid beneficiaries. The first pilot program provides community-based services for treatment of mental health conditions in youth and young adults. The second pilot program is the Assertive Engagement and Community-Based Clinical Treatment Pilot Program to treat youth and young adults with substance use disorders.

Category: Press Releases

Ford Motors employees testify about the sexual abuse and assault they experienced at workCHICAGO – Lawmakers on Monday threatened to drag in Ford Motors supervisors and management and demanded Gov. Bruce Rauner not purchase Ford vehicles for the state after hearing testimony from workers who suffered sexual harassment at local plants.

“The fact that assault, abuse, discrimination and retaliation are just part of the job for women at Chicago’s two Ford plants is astounding,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “No one should ever have to experience the things these women did, let alone at work. Ford management and United Automobile Workers representatives have not only failed to protect these women and ensure they have a safe work environment, they have in many cases been the perpetrators of abuse and harassment.”

Over the past several decades, female employees at Ford Motors’ two Chicago plants have reported incidences of sexual harassment, assault, discrimination and retaliation, resulting in a string of lawsuits and an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and commitments from Ford to crack down on the problem. Despite all of this, female employees are still experiencing harassment and discrimination at Ford, they told lawmakers.

“I intend to do everything in my power to hold Ford management and UAW representatives accountable,” Bush said. “I hope that the governor puts a halt on state purchasing of Ford vehicles until Ford takes real action and the victims receive justice.”

Members of the Senate Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by Sen. Bush, heard testimony during Monday’s hearing on labor issues and sexual harassment. The task force was created in response to the recent wave of harassment allegations in Illinois and throughout the country. The group is conducting a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual harassment and discrimination, and will make recommendations on how to combat them in Illinois.

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Category: Press Releases

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