SPRINGFIELD – More than 20 years ago, a nuclear plant in the district State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) represents shut its door. People lost jobs and the community was eviscerated.

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To help provide jobs in areas where coal plants, coal mines or nuclear plants have closed and to foster the development of green energy across the state, Bush passed a measure Thursday to create the Energy Transition Zone Act.

“To protect our environment and stop global warming, we need to close coal plants – that’s not up for debate,” Bush said. “But, as we make strides toward green energy, we can’t forget about the families who rely on these plants to put food on the table or the communities that need their tax dollars to function.”

Under the Energy Transition Zone Act – which would be created if Senate Bill 1747 is signed into law – areas that contain coal energy plants, coal mines, or nuclear energy plants could apply to become “energy transition zones.”

The plants or coal mines in the area must have shut down in the previous 10 years, or the municipality must contain a nuclear plant that was decommissioned but continued storing nuclear waste prior to the effective date of the measure.

Once designated an energy transition zone, green energy enterprises will be able to apply for a number of tax benefits, be exempt from state or local taxes on gas and electricity, and have the ability to purchase certain building materials exempt from use and occupation taxes to be used for green energy projects.

In total, there are 12 closed coal plants – including eight that have shut down in the past 10 years.

“As we continue down this road of no coal and transition away from nuclear natural gas – as we continue to move forward – we need to make sure there’s something to help the communities that coal built,” Bush said. “If we don’t plan now to ensure there are programs available for these communities, we are putting them at a grave disadvantage.” 

The measure passed the Senate Thursday. It now heads to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – To ensure restaurants aren’t being taken advantage of by third-party delivery services, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is sponsoring a measure to prohibit such services from profiting through deceitful means. 

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“During a time when restaurant owners are already struggling with a loss of business due to the pandemic, they do not deserve greater loss from perceived bad service,” Bush said. “Mutually beneficial partnerships between delivery services and restaurants is possible, and I hope this legislation will foster an environment where that can happen.”

The measure prohibits a third-party delivery service – such as GrubHub, UberEats or PostMates – from posting or advertising a menu of a restaurant or bar without written consent from the business.

The legislation comes as the use of food delivery services have increased. Some of the services allow customers to order from non-partnered restaurants, and place the orders as if the delivery driver is the customer. Restaurant owners have raised concerns that this allows third-part delivery services to not only use their name and likeness to make a profit, but that it takes advantage of consumers who are trying to support their local dining options through the pandemic.

If there is an issue with delivery, for instance, or a customer notices a price difference between ordering online and ordering at the brick-and-mortar store, a customer may blame the restaurant.

“While third-party delivery services can bring more money in for local restaurants, those same restaurants can be caught off guard by receiving an influx of orders and not having enough staff,” Bush said. “Additionally, it’s simply not fair for other people to receive profits from a business without permission to deliver its items.”

Senate Bill 672 passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for further consideration.  

 

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD -- When a person with a mental health condition calls 911, they don’t always need the hospital – but are typically taken to an emergency room rather than the mental health facility they require. State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) lead a measure through the Senate that would change that by allowing EMS workers to take patients where they’ll most benefit.

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“Imagine going through a mental health crisis, then being taken to an emergency room, rather than a place that can actually help you,” Bush said. “That’s going to cause anger and frustration – let alone waste time that could be used to begin treatment.”

Currently, EMS providers can only take a patient to an emergency room, where a medical professional can then determine if they would be better suited for a mental health facility. To bypass the extra – often unnecessary and costly – step, Senate Bill 693 allows direct transport to proper assistance. 

EMS workers would have the opportunity to request bypass of the hospital if the patient has no immediate life-threatening injury or illness, is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and does not have an obvious need to be seen by emergency room personnel.

Behavioral health patients are increasingly putting pressure on emergency departments. They often occupy emergency rooms at disproportionate rates due to a limited number of psychiatric inpatient beds, limited community resources or a lack of access to care. Not only does this put a burden on overflowing emergency rooms – especially in the age of COVID-19 – it also can be financially cumbersome.

“Being admitted to the emergency room – no matter if you have insurance or not – can be very expensive,” Bush said. “Let’s work to ensure people can get the fastest treatment possible without unnecessary fees.”

The measure passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for final consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD — During Governor JB Pritzker’s State of the State and Budget Address, he prioritized funding for older Illinoisans, people with disabilities, and the Illinois Department of Employment Security — all priorities shared by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

She released the following statement about these pressing matters Wednesday:

“The times we are faced with have made a state budget seem like a nearly impossible feat, yet the governor was able to prioritize our most vulnerable populations. Older Illinoisans and people with disabilities have often felt unheard throughout the pandemic. Today, however, they can know their voices are being elevated.

“Additionally, while I have been frustrated with the issues revolving around the Illinois Department of Employment Security, I feel a sense of hope knowing that additional investments may finally allow people to have their hardships handled.

“We are one step closer to a better and more normal tomorrow.”

Category: Press Releases

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