floodingGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D- Grayslake) is urging all Lake County residents to prepare for possible severe weather by developing an emergency plan.

To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe.

“Lake County has been particularly vulnerable to flooding,” Bush said. “I highly encourage all residents to sign up for the Lake County severe weather alerts in order to be prepared for unpredictable weather.”

For more Lake County-specific weather preparedness information please sign up for Alert Lake County here or visit the Lake County Flood Preparedness website here.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IEMA recommends a few new items be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit include water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at www.ready.gov/kit.

For more information, IEMA offers severe weather preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website, a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushGRAYSLAKE — Survivors of sexual assault will now be able to receive medical forensic exams, also known as rape kits, at federally qualified health centers in addition to hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that was signed into law today.

“The health risks associated with going to a crowded hospital during the pandemic has deterred survivors from seeking help,” Bush said. “Sexual assault survivors should not have to choose between potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 and seeking justice.” 

Senate Bill 557 allows approved federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies like COVID-19. 

“Sexual assaults haven’t stopped during the pandemic,” Bush said. “It’s important that we provide more places that will provide safe and compassionate treatment.”

The law takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

small businessSPRINGFIELD  Recognizing the need for stability for a state dealing with an unprecedented crisis, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) returned to Springfield to vote on a responsible new budget to help bring relief to struggling Illinoisans. 

“We are living through a nightmare, but we can’t afford to shut down and wait for it to end while families and small businesses struggle to survive,” Bush said. “This isn’t a normal year, and this budget will reflect the unique circumstances under which it’s being passed. It already has nearly $1 billion in cuts from the governor’s original budget proposal.” 

The new budget will address key priorities including:

  • Providing more than $600 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19
  • Preserving$12.6 billion in P-12 education funding
  • Providing an additional $30 million for mental health and substance abuse programs affected by COVID-19
  • Providing nearly $180 million in additional DCFS funding 
  • Providing $396 million to the Illinois Housing Development Authority for grants to help people who lost their income due to COVID-19 make rent and mortgage payments
  • Providing IDES with $60 million in additional funding to address challenges with the unemployment system

“This pandemic has exposed the shortfall in resources for our children’s education, as well as the lack of help for families and individuals who live paycheck to paycheck who now find themselves struggling to pay their rent or mortgage,” Bush said. “The most responsible thing to do right now is to provide resources to those who need them immediately.”

Senate Bill 264 passed the Illinois Senate 37-19.  

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushCHICAGO – Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) have passed emergency legislation to address concerns related to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault have access to care and evidence collection during the COVID-19 crisis. Under current law sexual assault survivors’ only option for a forensic exam and evidence collection is to go to an emergency department. Many survivors seeking treatment at alternative sites have expressed fear of being exposed to COVID-19 at hospital emergency rooms.

Senate Bill 557 seeks to allow approved federally qualified health centers (FQHC) to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

“We know sexual assaults are not stopping during this time. Survivors should not have the added worry of being exposed to the virus, they deserve better,” Representative Cassidy said. 

Advocacy groups and experts in the industry know that sexual violence is not decreasing during this time. Resilience, Chicago’s largest comprehensive rape crisis center has reported a 49% decrease in call volume from hospitals since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile Howard Brown Health Center a federally qualified health center, has seen its volume of sexual assault cases double.

"Currently, the only place a survivor of sexual assault can get a rape kit or medical help is a hospital. With survivors citing COVID-19 and the health risks associated with going to a crowded hospital as a reason to stay away, it's more important than ever to allow federally qualified health centers to perform rape kits and give survivors additional options to seek help," Bush said. "The need for alternative options has never been more important than right now." 
 

In order to provide these exams FQHCs would need to apply to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Facilities must also abide by strict guidelines including working with emergency departments, rape crisis centers and offer wrap around services to survivors.

"With many survivors uncomfortable going to a hospital during the pandemic, it's critical to provide other places where they can access safe treatment and compassionate care," said Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx. "Expanding these options will also allow for evidence collection, which is vital to bringing survivors justice. I'm grateful to the sponsors and advocates who share our trauma-informed, victim-centered approach and moved quickly to advance this important legislation."

This legislation represents an initiative by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Office of the Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Public Health. The bill passed the House by a vote of 107-1 and the Senate 56-0. 

Category: Press Releases

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