Senator Melinda Bush presents a bill during a committeeSPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush is urging Wisconsin leaders to consider the serious environmental and public health concerns that may threaten Illinoisans as a result of the planned Foxconn Technology Company plant in Racine.

“The decisions from Wisconsin leaders and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to allow Foxconn to skirt environmental protections are irresponsible and short-sighted,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The environmental impacts don’t stop at the Wisconsin border. Lake County residents will be affected, but because Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations, we don’t know the full impact.”

As part of the deal passed by the Wisconsin General Assembly, Foxconn can discharge dredged materials or fill wetlands without a permit. Racine County, the Foxconn site and Lake County all sit in the Des Plaines watershed. Flooding in the Des Plaines River watershed and throughout Lake County has caused billions of dollars in damage in recent years, including record flooding last July.

“The fact that Wisconsin leaders are willing to sacrifice the health of humans and the environment for jobs is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Lake County residents deserve better. I hope Wisconsin leaders will put people before profits and reconsider the Foxconn deal.”

SR 1600, which passed out of the Senate Environment Committee today, also asks Illinois agencies to take whatever actions possible to protect against the loss of water, potential flooding and other ecological impacts that might result from the Foxconn deal.

“With this resolution, Illinois commits to protecting people over profits, by not waiving similar environmental regulations for projects coming into our state,” said Colleen Smith, Legislative Director, Illinois Environmental Council.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush presents her bill during a Senate committee hearingSPRINGFIELD – A task force would study the extent to which opioids are being overprescribed in Illinois under a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that advanced out of a Senate committee today.

"There's no easy way to solve the opioid crisis in Illinois," said Bush (D-Grayslake). "In order to really get to the root of the problem, we have to take a well-rounded approach and come at the problem from all angles."

HB 4707 creates the Prescription Drug Task Force to study the extent of over prescription of opioids to patients and make recommendations to address the issue. The Task Force will consist of legislators, the Department of Human Services, health care organizations, law enforcement and parents.

"This task force will allow us to hear from experts across the state and come up with the best-possible legislative approaches to ending the opioid epidemic in Illinois," Bush said.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Young people struggling with addiction or severe mental illness may soon see additional options for treatment thanks to a bill from Senator Melinda Bush that passed out of the Senate today.

“Early detection and treatment can often determine whether or not a person is able to pursue their goals, stay in the workforce, and lead a healthy, productive life,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “This pilot creates a youth-focused, community support program that’s intended to treat mental illness early on and stabilize young people.”

Seventy-five percent of severe mental health disorders manifest in young people and adolescents, but it takes on average 10 years for a person to be properly diagnosed.

“Untreated mental illnesses and addiction can completely sideline a person, leaving them less likely to pursue school or participate in the workforce,” Bush said. “Early investments in treatment and community-support programs will save money in the long run and will help individuals struggling with mental illness and addiction stay on track.”

Senate Bill 2951 creates the Early Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Act and requires the Department of Health and Family Services to create two pilot programs for Medicaid beneficiaries. The first pilot program provides community-based services for treatment of mental health conditions in youth and young adults. The second pilot program is the Assertive Engagement and Community-Based Clinical Treatment Pilot Program to treat youth and young adults with substance use disorders.

Category: Press Releases

The Village of Mundelein's police chief, Eric Guenther (R), and the City of Dixon's former police chief and current city manager, Danny Langloss (L), backed the deflection bill at a Senate hearing in Springfield.Chicago Tribune - April 19, 2018 | original article

An Illinois Senate panel has approved a bipartisan plan that authorizes local police departments and community partners to develop local strategies to fight the Illinois opioid crisis.

The Senate Human Services Committee on April 10 voted, 8-0, to advance legislation, Senate Bill 3023, that encourages local law enforcement to "deflect" from criminal arrest individuals who have overdosed or who have substance use problems, directing them instead into substance use disorder treatment.

The "Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act," sponsored by State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), provides a "roadmap" for partnerships between law enforcement, substance use treatment providers, and community members to guide the development of deflection programs in their communities, according to one of the bill's chief proponents.

"Traditionally, local police have had two choices when faced with someone who they believe may have a substance use disorder-to arrest or to not arrest," said Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) President Pamela Rodriguez. "With the opioid crisis raging across the state, deflection provides a third option, to connect people with community-based substance use treatment services that address their underlying substance use problems. This bill lays out a roadmap to municipalities, offering guidance, program features, and a range of options."

The number of Illinois overdose deaths from all opioids increased by 82% from 2013 to 2016.

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Category: In The News

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