SPRINGFIELD – People who have lived in an apartment might have noticed they typically only have one option to dispose of their waste: a large trash can. To give tenants a more sustainable way to get rid of garbage, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is leading the charge to require recycling options at apartment complexes.

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“We all know recycling is the right thing to do, but not everyone has readily available access to it,” Bush said. “The best way to be environmentally friendly and reduce waste is to make recycling more accessible.”

Any apartment building with more than four units would be required to offer a recycling service and the building owner would be required to provide tenants with recycling bins if Senate Bill 1676 becomes law.

While all counties and municipalities must have a recycling plan under current law, they aren’t required to consider apartment complexes.

“Recycling is a simple, everyday act that can help save our environment if everyone takes part,” Bush said. “We don't let apartment complexes neglect trash collection, and we shouldn't let them neglect recycling.”

The measure passed the Senate Licensed Activities Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – A no-contact order typically instructs a defendant not to have any in-person contact with a victim. However, unless a measure led 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 Criminal Law Committee Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

 

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SPRINGFIELD – A mother of three is out shopping when the inevitable happens: one of her young boys needs to use the restroom. It’s at that moment when she’s faced with the reality of having to choose between taking her sons into the women’s restroom or taking herself and her daughter into the men’s.

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It’s this kind of everyday situation that led State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to file a measure to allow a multiple-occupancy restroom to become an all-gender restroom

“This proposal simply calls for the needed privacy safeguards to make these restrooms work for anyone,” Bush said.

In January 2020, it became law that all single occupancy public bathrooms in Illinois become gender neutral.

Senate Bill 457 simply expands on that law. However, the legislation is permissive – gender specific multiple-occupancy restrooms are still allowed. Moreover, multiple-occupancy all-gender restrooms will have to meet additional privacy safeguards. Any restroom designated for all genders must have specified signage and floor to ceiling stall dividers.

“People who have disabilities, older adults, or anyone else who needs the help of someone of another gender can receive the assistance they need without having to search for a single occupancy restroom,” Bush said. “Or, think about the moms accompanying young boys, dads with young girls and parents with multiple kids. It’s easy to be unsure which restroom they should use.”

The measure was filed last month and Bush hopes to present it in committee soon.

 

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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) is leading 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 grown,” Bush said. “We must support parents who want a seat at the table. By prioritizing working moms and dads, we’re prioritizing help for all working families.”  

The measure passed out of Senate Executive Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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