SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure to require the proper separation of sharp medical waste Monday.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, was chief co-sponsor of the legislation. The new law would require “sharp” medical waste, such as syringes, to be properly separated from regular waste. It also requires the state to provide collection services for such waste.

“This is an important safety measure, not just for our sanitation workers, who can be put at risk when people wrongly dispose of dangerous material in their regular recyclables, but for everyone,” Bush said. “This makes it harder for accidental injuries and infections to occur. I’m glad to see the governor sign a common sense safety regulation into law.”

For proper disposal, syringes and other “sharps” should be collected in an appropriate sharps disposal container and can be disposed of in your regular trash. Even when placed in the appropriate plastic container, sharps should never be disposed of with recyclables.

Under the new law, disposing of sharp waste like syringes in recycling would be prohibited. It would also permit local governments to establish sharps collection points at medical centers and police or fire stations and to create a U.S. Postal Service-approved sharp waste mail-back program.

The legislation was Senate Bill 793. It will take effect Jan. 1.

Category: Press Releases

As a state budget stalemate continues at the Capitol, State Senator Melinda Bush announced she will forgo her pay as a lawmaker if state workers go without paychecks beginning next week.

“Because of dysfunction in Springfield, hardworking state employees and critical programs for those who need assistance will go without the pay they were promised,” Bush said. “Meanwhile, state lawmakers can continue to draw paychecks. If other state employees miss their checks this coming week, I will do the same.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently used his veto powers to eliminate state worker pay and nearly every other part of the state budget that lawmakers approved in May. If some resolution isn’t reached soon, state workers could begin going without pay beginning next week.

If that happens, Bush would voluntarily go without pay. She has filled out the necessary paperwork to file with the state comptroller to ensure paychecks would not be deposited.

“If state workers are ordered to work for free and funding is denied to daycare providers like Dortha Rivers of Zion, I cannot accept my pay in good conscience,” Bush said. “Parents who work and rely on CCAP funding to afford services like hers are doing everything right. So are state workers who did nothing to cause this mess.”

With Bush’s support, the Illinois Senate approved an emergency, one-month budget last week that would ensure vital public safety personnel ranging from Illinois State Police to the Illinois National Guard are paid.

The Senate will return to session next week to potentially take additional action on a state budget plan.

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052115CM0553SPRINGFIELD — Federal funding from the Violence Against Women Act is a critical part of combating domestic violence and rape at the local level, says Pat Davenport, executive director of A Safe Place, a Lake County-based domestic violence relief agency.

“Eighty percent of the clients we work with have been sexually assaulted,” Davenport said. “We like to say domestic violence is separate from sexual assault, but they go hand in hand.”

Under current Illinois law, survivors of rape may need to pay fees for their own rape investigations, something disallowed under the VAWA, and a fact Davenport called unethical. To remove financial responsibility for their own rape investigations and ensure federal funding for sexual assault investigations is not jeopardized, State Sen. Melinda Bush cooperated with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass legislation out of the Illinois Senate today.

“With this proposal, we’re simply saying that victims of sexual assault should not be the ones to pay for things like testing rape kits, or other administrative fees,” Bush said. “This legislation ensures we remain compliant with the federal Violence Against Women Act and I’m proud to work with Attorney General Madigan to sponsor it in the Senate.

The legislation is House Bill 3848. Having passed the Senate without opposition, the amended version returns to the House for concurrence.

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SPRINGFIELD — Lake County will join an economic development group that provides low-interest loans to business owners and housing developers without any burden on taxpayers after legislative efforts by State Sen. Melinda Bush.

Following talks in the General Assembly, Bush, D-Grayslake, successfully pushed for Lake County’s inclusion in the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority (UIRVDA), one of the state’s regional development authorities. Such groups issue bonds to fund loans to businesses and housing developer projects. Local developers pay off the bonds directly to investors.

“Membership in the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority will open doors for small business owners and property developers in Lake County,” Bush said. “This is an economic development effort that encourages investment in local concerns and doesn’t put taxpayer money at risk.”

Regional development authorities like the UIRVDA operate on the fees they charge borrowers, with no state funding. It’s a mechanism that allows RDAs to help local businesses without any burden on taxpayers, said David Northern, executive director of the Lake County Housing Authority.

“They are operationally self-supporting,” Northern said. “In short, it doesn't cost anything to have access to UIRVDA's financing powers.”

The legislation is House Bill 417. Having passed the Senate today, it will return to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

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