SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) released the following statement in response to President Trump commuting ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s sentence:

“I’m deeply disappointed by President Trump’s move to commute the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. Illinois’ troubling history of corruption is no secret, and Mr. Blagojevich’s attempt to sell a U.S. Senate seat is the epitome of corruption. The president’s own Republican advisors have warned him that Mr. Blagojevich is guilty of corruption, which the president vowed to fight once in office. His actions today are simply incomprehensible. Illinois has a long way to go to clean up its act, and we can start by passing my new package of ethics reform legislation.”

The package of legislation contains three bills: Senate Bills 2488, 1426, and 74. Each targets a different loophole in the ethics code and would give more investigative power to the Legislative Inspector General.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushCHICAGO - State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and a bipartisan group of advocates and legislators unveiled plans for a Fair Maps Amendment at a press conference Thursday. The Fair Maps Amendment is a comprehensive reform of Illinois’ redistricting rules ahead of the 2020 Census.

“Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy,” Bush said. “Manipulating a district to benefit one party reduces the number of competitive districts and makes it harder for voters to hold their legislators accountable.”

Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing political or electoral districts with the purpose of giving one political group an advantage over another. Traditional requirements for drawing legislative districts state that districts must be contiguous, compact and equally populated, but these rules are sometimes not enough to prevent partisan-motivated districting.

The Fair Maps Amendment is designed to end gerrymandering in Illinois by ensuring that future maps are drawn fairly.

“I am calling on all states, especially our neighbors Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Missouri to join Illinois in the fight. Unless we join together, gerrymandering will continue to erode our democratic process,” said Bush. “This is just the first step toward comprehensive redistricting reform.”

Also present were State Senators Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) and John Curran (R-Woodridge), who stood with Bush to support the Fair Maps Amendment.

“The first step to rooting out corruption in Springfield is to have voters choose their legislators, not the other way around,” said McConchie. “Redistricting reform is supported by a majority of legislators on both sides of the aisle. Passing this proposal would send a clear message to our constituents that the current political climate in Springfield is no longer acceptable.”

“I am very pleased that legislators from both sides of the aisle are joining together to support the Fair Maps Amendment,” said Curran. “It’s time for Illinois to stop allowing legislators to draw their own districts and choose their own voters. With this amendment, the power will shift to allow voters to choose their elected officials in Springfield.”

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 18 was filed in the Senate today.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) introduced a package of legislation giving more power to the Legislative Inspector General to weed out corruption.

“I’ve been working with advocates for the last three years to clean up corruption and finally hold people accountable,” Bush said. “In light of the recent revelations involving former members of the General Assembly, we can’t allow this shameful behavior to continue. The only way to stop it is to give our watchdogs more power to investigate and take independent action.”

The package of legislation contains three bills, Senate Bills 2488, 1426, and 74, each targeting a different loophole in the ethics code. The first bill calls for the immediate removal of a member of the Senate from any leadership position upon being charged with a crime. Currently there are no conditions which specify when or if a sitting member of the General Assembly should face such restrictions.

The second extends the deadline for filing an ethics complaint to 12 months after the Legislative Inspector General begins an investigation. Currently, a complaint can only be filed within 18 months after the most recent alleged violation. The third gives the Inspector General the power to begin an investigation without prior approval of the ethics commission.

“This state’s ethics record is appalling and that is due in large part to the inaction of self-serving and apathetic lawmakers who are unwilling to fight for what’s right,” Bush said. “We need to do better and my legislation is just the beginning. We need to overhaul the system and clean up Illinois.”

Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda BushSPRINGFIELD – Property taxes will be lowered for many home and business owners in Lake County this year thanks to the Property Tax Relief Grant.

The Property Tax Relief Grant is a state grant program designed to provide financial relief for school districts that are heavily taxed and to help level the playing field to for school districts.

School Districts account for more than 60% of property tax bills. “I helped create this grant, because it will provide needed property tax relief to families who reside in communities in high tax-rate school districts” State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) said.

Local school districts that are eligible for the grant include:
• Grayslake Community High School District 127
• Round Lake Area Schools Community Unit School District 116
• Zion Elementary School District 6
• Zion-Benton Township High School District 126

Eligible districts must submit an abatement resolution – a local taxing district’s approved plan to reduce property taxes – to their county clerks by March 30. The Illinois State Board of Education will then distribute the grants to each eligible district after receiving the Certification of Abatement Form from the county clerk.

“Regardless of where they live, every child in Illinois deserves a quality education and opportunity to succeed, but the State of Illinois must continue to explore and find ways to reduce the burden born by property taxes,” Bush said.

More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant can be found at www.ISBE.net/proptaxrelief.

Category: Press Releases

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