GRAYSLAKE — In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by not having people line up at the polls to cast their ballot in November, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) encourages people to take advantage of the state’s robust vote-by-mail program. 

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“Illinoisans will not have to choose between casting their vote and staying healthy this fall,” Bush said. “Voters have more options to have their voices heard — which is especially important at a time when so many are leaning on their elected officials for help.”

Thanks to Senate Bill 1863, which Bush supported and was signed into law last week, people who are registered to vote and want to request a vote-by-mail ballot may now do so by visiting their individual election authority’s website. 

People who live in Lake County should visit lakecountyil.gov/4321/Voting-by-Mail to request their ballot.

Additionally, those who are not yet registered to vote may do so by visiting the Illinois State Board of Elections website, and they will be able to request a vote-by-mail ballot while applying.

While people are now able to apply for a ballot on their own, everyone who has voted in the past two years —in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will automatically receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot in their mailbox for the 2020 General Election. 

People who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

Election authorities are expected to mail out applications no later than Aug. 1, so people can expect their applications in early August. They can also expect to receive periodic reminders from the secretary of state’s office to submit their application.

“I encourage people to take advantage of our vote-by-mail program, which will allow people to stay safe in their homes while exercising their right,” Bush said.

Category: Press Releases

Vote-by-mailGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-GRAYSLAKE) lent her support to a new law, signed on Tuesday, that will make voting by mail much easier for Lake County residents in the interest of a safer November election.

“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Bush said. “During this pandemic, we want to make sure people can exercise their civic duty safely by minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

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Category: Press Releases

ChildCareGRAYSLAKE — As parents gradually return to work outside the home, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging child care providers to take advantage of the $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program, included in the recently approved state budget. 

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a decreased need for child care, as more parents were forced to stay and work from home,” Bush said. “Now that our state is beginning to reopen and more parents have to return to work, many children will once again need a place to receive care during the day. This grant program will help child care providers stay open and reopen to accommodate the needs of returning parents.” 

The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic needs of child care providers while the state’s economy reopens in the coming weeks.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is responsible for the development of the grant program for licensed child care providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be overseen by the the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.  

The recently launched “Intent to Apply” online survey can be found here. All information provided will impact the development of the grant program slated for release in July 2020. Eligible providers will receive their first installments later in the summer. The survey will remain open until 5 p.m. on June 19, 2020.

More information can be found here

Category: Press Releases

Mental healthGRAYSLAKE — Gov. JB Pritzker officially signed the new state budget today, and it includes funding to support Illinois seniors, for residents struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and to stabilize the education system, all priorities for State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). 

“We’re facing record unemployment because of the pandemic, and our systems weren’t built to accommodate the number of people needing help all at once,” Bush said. “This budget had to help stabilize our economy and provide support for all struggling Illinoisans. Now was not the time to be cutting back on vital services.” 

The budget preserves P-12 education funding, ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t rob students of the opportunity to succeed in the future. It provides $12.6 billion to P-12 education and $7.2 billion specifically for the state’s evidence based funding model. It also increases funding to support older Illinois residents with additional funding for the Senior Meals Program and a nearly $28 million increase to the Community Care Program, which will help people who might otherwise need to go to an assisted living facility stay in their homes.

The budget also contains an additional $30 million for mental health and substance abuse programs affected by COVID-19 and provides the Illinois Department of Employment Security with $60 million in additional funding to address challenges with the unemployment system. The added funding will help IDES increase the number of workers to help aid residents navigate the unemployment system and process claims faster.

“This isn’t anyone’s ideal budget, but it’s the one we needed right now,” Bush said. “It protects students, seniors, and the unemployed.”

The approved budget is for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1.

Category: Press Releases

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