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

SPRINGFIELD – Staff members of elected officials are one step closer to being able to file sexual harassment claims thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that passed in the Senate with strong bipartisan support.

“The sexual harassment allegations that have come out in recent months made clear the need to re-examine our policies, work to change the culture in Springfield and do everything possible to make sure all victims are able to seek justice for sexual harassment,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The fact that staff of elected officials are not protected under the Human Rights Act is extremely problematic and needs to be changed.”

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, “immediate personal staff” of elected officials are exempt from the definition of employee and are therefore unable to report human rights violations, including sexual harassment, to the Department of Human Rights. Senate Bill 576 would delete this exemption.

Bush, who chairs the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, introduced the measure after hearing testimony from employees of the Illinois Department of Human Rights during a recent task force meeting. Representatives from the department testified that because of the lack of clarification as to who constitutes “immediate personal staff” of elected officials, the department does not know how to handle those claims.

“Legislative staffers should have never been excluded from the Human Rights Act in the first place,” Bush said. “This bill will give legislative staffers the same rights as all other employees in the state – the right to seek justice and report human rights violations and sexual harassment in the work place.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Staff members of elected officials would be granted the right to file sexual harassment claims under a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that advanced out of the Senate Executive Committee today.

“The claims that have come out over the past several months have made it clear that we need to change the way we handle sexual harassment and make sure everyone knows where to go to seek justice,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “The fact that staff of elected officials aren’t considered employees and therefore aren’t protected under the Human Rights Act is egregious.”

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, immediate personal staff of elected officials are exempt from the definition of employee and are therefore unable to report human rights violations, including sexual harassment, to the Department of Human Rights. Senate Bill 576 would delete this exemption.

“It’s clear that the system was set up to protect perpetrators and leave victims with nowhere to turn,” Bush said. “Legislative staffers should’ve never been excluded from the Human Rights Act. This measure will give them the same rights as every other employee in the state.”

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Category: Press Releases

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