SPRINGFIELD – People who are prescribed opioid drugs would also be given opioid overdose reversal medication under a measure lead by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

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“Opioid overdoses have been occurring at alarming rates in Illinois,” Bush said. “Expanded access to overdose reversal drugs – like naloxone – will save lives.”

The measure requires a prescriber to offer a co-prescription for naloxone hydrochloride – or a similar drug – to patients given an opioid drug. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.

More than 2,000 people in Illinois lost their lives to opioids in 2019 alone, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Furthermore, Cook County has seen more than double the number of overdose deaths – potentially caused by isolation and lack of support during the pandemic.

Since first entering the General Assembly, Bush has been a steadfast advocate on fighting the ongoing opioid crisis. In 2015, she championed legislation to make naloxone more accessible and affordable to law enforcement agencies. Senate Bill 2535 is another step toward saving lives from the deadly effects of opioids.

“The opioid epidemic is a serious and complicated issue that only continues to get worse,” Bush said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed vulnerable populations – such as those with opioid use disorders – and we must tackle this crisis head on.”

Bush’s proposal awaits consideration before the full Senate.

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD -- When a person with a mental health condition calls 911, they don’t always need the hospital – but are typically taken to an emergency room rather than the mental health facility they require. State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) lead a measure through the Senate that would change that by allowing EMS workers to take patients where they’ll most benefit.

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“Imagine going through a mental health crisis, then being taken to an emergency room, rather than a place that can actually help you,” Bush said. “That’s going to cause anger and frustration – let alone waste time that could be used to begin treatment.”

Currently, EMS providers can only take a patient to an emergency room, where a medical professional can then determine if they would be better suited for a mental health facility. To bypass the extra – often unnecessary and costly – step, Senate Bill 693 allows direct transport to proper assistance. 

EMS workers would have the opportunity to request bypass of the hospital if the patient has no immediate life-threatening injury or illness, is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and does not have an obvious need to be seen by emergency room personnel.

Behavioral health patients are increasingly putting pressure on emergency departments. They often occupy emergency rooms at disproportionate rates due to a limited number of psychiatric inpatient beds, limited community resources or a lack of access to care. Not only does this put a burden on overflowing emergency rooms – especially in the age of COVID-19 – it also can be financially cumbersome.

“Being admitted to the emergency room – no matter if you have insurance or not – can be very expensive,” Bush said. “Let’s work to ensure people can get the fastest treatment possible without unnecessary fees.”

The measure passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for final consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Running for elected office calls for a lot of long days, late nights and busy weekends. It can be discouraging for people with children – especially single parents – to chase their desire to serve their communities.

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To enable more women – and all parents – to seek public office, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) spearheaded a movement to allow campaign finances to pay for child care.

“The window is narrow for women who have young children to run – and it’s time to change that,” Bush said. “No one should have to choose between serving their community and being a parent.” 

Senate Bill 536 would allow campaign funds to be used for child care or dependent elder adult care for not only candidates – but also staff and volunteers.

Currently, Illinois campaign finance law does not expressly say whether campaign funds may be used to pay child care expenses. However, there is a common fear among candidates that child care could be considered as a campaign finance violation if deemed a personal expense.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35% of Illinois legislators are women – a number 6% higher than the national average. However, while the number in Illinois is greater than the national average, Bush said she would like to see more female representation in Springfield – and believes that starts with better access to child care.

“I always had a desire to help and serve others, but I couldn’t do so until my son was much older,” Bush said. “We must support parents who want a seat at the table. By prioritizing working parents, we’re prioritizing help for all working families.”  

The measure passed out of Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for final consideration.

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – A no-contact order typically instructs a defendant not to have any in-person contact with a victim. However, unless a measure passed through the Senate by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) becomes law, they could still hound their accuser via text message, email or social media.

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“When a person pursues a no-contact order against someone, there is nothing stopping the perpetrator from sending threatening texts or leaving harassing voicemails,” Bush said. “In the age of technology and online dating, far too many people have experienced unwarranted communications after drawing the line.”

Electronic contact – which includes texting, emailing and calling – would be considered a violation of a person’s stalking no-contact order under Bush’s proposal. If a person were to break the order, they would face the same repercussions as they would for in-person contact.

Under current law, electronic contact is not considered means of correspondence. Without the clarification found within Senate Bill 1677, a stalker could contact someone virtually and harass them without facing consequences. 

“Once a no-contact order is in place, no one should have to worry about hearing from their abuser,” Bush said. “As technology evolves, so too must the measures we take to help people feel safe.”  

The measure passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House for further consideration.

 

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-7353

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Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 548-5631