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Endorsement: Bush for Illinois Senate District 31

Lake County’s 31st Senate District features candidates with similar views on reform issues and vast differences in elected experience. Incumbent Democrat Melinda Bush of Grayslake and Republican Michael Amrozowicz of Gurnee say they back the Independent Map Amendment and term limits — Bush, for leadership positions; Amrozowicz, for all legislators. They say they won’t support tax increases, and Bush pledges not to vote for any during a lame duck session this fall.

Amrozowicz is a Navy veteran, business owner and chairman of the Lake County Republican Party making his first run for elected office. He said he supports Gov. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda and backs tax, lawsuit and workers comp reforms to attract business.

Bush is seeking her second term after serving on the Grayslake and Lake County boards. She’s a leader in government consolidation and pledges to push that in Lake County. She has built a record of collaboration and independence — she’s voted against several Democratic budget bills the last two years and bucked party leaders on the map amendment. She also has deep community relationships needed to be effective at home and in Springfield. Bush is endorsed.

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Two Lake County Sanitary Districts Can Dissolve Under New Law

Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, co-sponsored the measure to meant to help consolidate local government.

In an effort to find ways to continue to consolidate local government, State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, supported a new law that was recently signed by Governor Rauner that allows two Lake County Sanitary Districts to dissolve and relegate their duties and obligations to county government, according to a news release.

“This legislation, in addition to others I’ve sponsored and supported this year, is an answer to clear calls from the community asking us to provide the means to consolidate local government,” Bush said.. “Property owners are paying taxes on more than 7,000 units of local government throughout Illinois. We don’t need that many, and it’s time to seek common sense ways to reorganize where we can while still providing quality services.”

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Melinda Bush Calls on Opponent to Sever Ties to Extremist Joe Walsh

GRAYSLAKE – Senator Melinda Bush called on 31st Senate District candidate Mike Amrozowicz to sever ties to extreme right-wing talk show host and former congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh recently held a fundraiser for Amrozowicz.

“I’m stunned someone who wants to represent Lake County citizens would align themselves with such an extremist,” said Bush. “Mike Amrozowicz needs to denounce Joe Walsh.”

Walsh has argued abortions are never necessary to save the lives of pregnant women, denied the existence of global warming, and spoke out against the existence of programs like Social Security and Medicare. Walsh has also been suspended from his radio show for using racial slurs and claimed radical Muslims who were “trying to kill Americans every week” infiltrated the Chicago suburbs.

Walsh held a fundraiser for Amrozowicz at the Brae Loch Golf Club last week, where Walsh advocated that Amrozowicz use voter anger to get elected and run a substance-less campaign.

“This is an issue-less campaign,” Walsh said on the state senate race. “This will not be a campaign driven by the issues.”

“This smacks of the worst kind of politics,” Bush responded. “I’m calling on Mike Amrozowicz to sever ties to Joe Walsh, his extremist views and his campaign tactics. We need to be focusing on the issues that matter most to working families – increasing fiscal responsibility, funding our schools, and decreasing the tax burden – not inciting anger through outrageous remarks.”

A lifelong Lake County resident, educator and former businesswoman, Melinda Bush is running for State Senate in the 31st Senate District. In the Senate, Bush has fought for balanced budgets, job creation, and ethics reforms like term limits.

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Suburban lawmakers say something’s got to give in Springfield

Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush says she’s “had enough” of politics as usual in Illinois, and the budget impasse that has threatened schools and social service agencies’ survival.

Across the aisle and in the Illinois House, Republican Rep. David McSweeney sings a similar tune.

“We’re sitting here over a year from the end of the last fiscal year without a budget,” said McSweeney, of Barrington Hills. “Everyone’s relied on waiting for our leaders to reach a deal. That hasn’t worked.”

The two are part of what Bush describes as a “small but growing voice” calling on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Sen. President John Cullerton to put aside politics in their protracted budget battle.

“We’re really trying to force a compromise,” said Bush, of Grayslake. “And force the leaders to move.”

Lawmakers return to Springfield Wednesday with just hours to pass a new budget before the next fiscal year begins. As of Tuesday afternoon, no clear agreement was in sight.

Rauner unveiled Tuesday a stopgap funding plan that would fund K-12 schools in the year ahead, and road construction for a full year along with social services, higher education and prisons for the next several months. The plan boosts elementary and secondary education funding by $240 million overall, but doesn’t include what he deems a “bailout” of Chicago Public Schools. The plan was filed as legislation by Republican leaders of the House and Senate Tuesday afternoon.

Democrats in the House and Senate say the plan doesn’t do enough, and they have begun to advance their own series of bills beginning in the Senate that would boost state aid to school districts by $760 million, and early childhood education by $75 million.

Under this plan, which seeks to offset cuts commonly known as proration that have occurred in recent years, no school districts in the state would lose money, with Antioch District 117 seeing the biggest overall gain from this year’s funding levels — a 52 percent boost, or roughly $2 million.

Chicago schools, meanwhile, would see a 30 percent boost in funds — equivalent to about $286 million, with another $100 million for pension payments.

Rauner’s administration has dismissed the plan as a bailout.

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Bills would give voters say over township, road district consolidation

Two state Senate bills from Lake County legislators are among the latest suggestions in the continuing debate on consolidating government services to save money.

The main element in the proposals by Democratic state Sens. Melinda Bush of Grayslake and Julie Morrison of Deerfield to consolidate or dissolve townships and road districts would allow entities the choice to pursue that route and give voters the final say. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the senate this week.

“We’re not telling you what to do,” Bush told about 40 township supervisors, highway commissioners and others during a news conference Monday at the Lake County division of transportation building in Libertyville. “It gives you and your voters the ability to decide what makes sense for you.”

There are 1,430 townships in Illinois and thousands of other units of local government, such as drainage and mosquito abatement districts, that in recent years have become the topics of potential consolidation or elimination. Township consolidation is among dozens of suggestions to shrink government outlined by the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates task force led by Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.

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Sen. Bush: We have a Heroin Crisis in Illinois

We have a heroin crisis in this state. Illinoisans are dying of heroin overdoses at twice the rate they were in 1999. Since 2012, in the Chicago suburbs alone, an average of three people have died a day.

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of the Heroin Crisis Act, a proposal I supported in the Senate that seeks to address the epidemic of narcotic use in Illinois.

He declined to sign this bill unless the State of Illinois removes investments in treatment for those who need help covering the insurance costs.

As a society, we are coming to grips with the reality that drug addiction is not a war, but a public health concern — that the answer is not brutish incarceration but medical treatment. Substance abuse costs our nation over $600 billion annually, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment can reduce these costs far more effectively than incarceration.

A year of methadone treatment costs $4,700 per patient. A year of imprisonment in the State of Illinois costs $38,000. According to conservative estimates, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of $4 to $7 as we prevent drug-related crime. The governor would have us believe that we can’t afford to spend money on treatment — the fact is, we can’t afford not to.

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Senator Works To Eliminate “Tampon Tax”

ILLINOIS (CNN Newsource) — Right now, Illinois women pay a 6.25 sales tax every time they buy a feminine hygiene product. The state classifies tampons, pads, and menstrual cups as luxury items. Illinois residents pay more than $10 million a year in taxes for these items.

That’s why Senator Melinda Bush says it’s time to end what she calls an unfair tax on women. She introduced a new bill that could eliminate the tax once and for all.

Sen. Melinda Bush, (D) Grayslake says “This exclusion will allow for the fact that someone can’t just change it by a rule of change. What we’re really talking about here is a bigger global issue and that’s that women have been paying more for things throughout their lives and maybe don’t even know it.”

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Lake County Opioid Initiative: Heroin law will ‘save so many lives’

With a 44-11 vote by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday afternoon, the General Assembly completed an override of a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner to enact a sweeping set of measures aimed at helping to reduce heroin and opiate addiction.

“I feel shocked and elated,” said Chelsea Laliberte, a co-founder of the Lake County Opioid Initiative, a group that includes medical experts, elected officials and residents.

Laliberte, in Springfield for last-minute lobbying and to witness the vote, said the law will “save so many lives.”

“There will be no more delay. This vitally necessary plan to address the heroin crisis in Illinois will be the law of the land,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, who sponsored a portion of the legislation and voted in favor of the override.

House members had already voted 105-5 on Sept. 1 to override Rauner’s veto.

While Rauner had supported many sections of the legislation, in a statement following his amendatory veto last month, the governor said he based his actions on costs associated with treatment services. Rauner said those provisions would be too expensive under the state’s current financial situation.

A section of the law dealing with expanded access to naloxone hydrochloride — a medication that counteracts opiate overdoses — are referred to as “Lali’s Law” in honor of Alex Laliberte, who died from a 2008 overdose in Buffalo Grove. Bush sponsored that section of the new law.

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Fallen soldier honored with renamed stretch of Route 120

Route 120 ran through the life of Joseph “Joey” Dimock II.

His mother, Ellen, recalled that it was the roadway she and her husband carefully drove in May 1989 when bringing their newborn son home to Wildwood.

Some 21 years later, it would once again be the road home for Joey Dimock when his family and hundreds of supporters carried him to his resting place following his July 2010 death during service as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan.

“Along Route 120, the police escort, Patriot Guard Riders, Joey, firetrucks, limousines all traveled slowly to our destination,” Ellen Dimock said. “Route 120 was lined with people — people from all over. There were flags. There were so many flags. Scouts, friends, strangers — all along this route, and all were holding flags.

“What a sight. What a day,” she added. “Route 120 was a beautiful sight. What a peaceful sight. What a humble sight. What an honor. To this day, 120 looks a little different to me. Most times, when I’m driving it, I’m reminded of that day.”

Ellen Dimock spoke to another crowd of family, friends and perfect strangers on Friday — the fifth anniversary of Joey Dimock’s death — as the Illinois Department of Transportation unveiled a sign designating Route 120 through Wildwood as Army SPC Joseph ‘Joey’ W. Dimock II Memorial Highway.

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From the Community: Speak Up and Speak Out…it works!

Having just participated in the Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum in Washington DC during the first week of April and then traveled with almost 200 advocates to Springfield on April 14 for the Association’s annual state lobby day, I want to say something that may surprise many readers: when citizens come together around shared goals and use their voices, our elected leaders actually listen.

While dissatisfaction with government right now is understandably strong, the recent history of success that Alzheimer’s advocates have achieved at both the state and federal level demonstrates this clearly and provides a roadmap to people of all political persuasions for getting things done. You can join us in the fight to End Alzheimer’s by visiting http://www.alz.org/advocacy/take-action.asp.

At least 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, 220,000 of whom reside in Illinois, and someone develops the disease every 66 seconds. It also is the sixth-most common cause of death and the only one among the top-ten for which no prevention, cure or treatment exists. These trends are already putting enormous strain on our country’s finances and on millions of families who have to helplessly watch loved ones slowly slip away.

The federal government spent more than $160 billion caring for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 2015 and as the ‘baby boomer’ generation ages, this will balloon to more than $1 trillion per year by 2050 (in today’s dollars). Considering that no preventative measures or disease-modifying treatments exist, every one of these dollars is spent simply managing someone’s descent into the end stages of dementia.

Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease, I can say firsthand that the pain patients and their families experience is almost impossible to bear. It has, however, driven thousands across the country to act. Five years ago, federally-funded research into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia conducted by the National Institutes of Health was about half of what it is today and had been flat for some time.

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