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  • Senator KoehlerSPRINGFIELD – Legislation putting in place policies designed to address coal ash, the toxic byproduct left over by coal-fired power plants, passed the Illinois Senate today.

    Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is one of the measures chief co-sponsors and says it’s important that cleanup costs not fall on taxpayers who did nothing wrong.

    “The discussion has to be around who is responsible and who is going to pay for this,” Koehler said. “These messes aren’t going away, and if we don’t pass this legislation then the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for this.”

    A report issued by environmental groups in late 2018 found that the groundwater around the Edwards Coal Plant south of Peoria was 18 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standard.

    “I understand the concerns of energy industry, but that’s the cost of doing business,” Koehler added. “When you make a mess, you clean it up.”

    The legislation passed the senate on a bipartisan roll call and now goes to the House of Representatives.

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  • koehler 040319SPRINGFIELD – A resolution sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) honoring the 100 years of work done by Easterseals, America’s largest nonprofit health care organization, was adopted by the Illinois Senate today.

    “The work in the community that Easterseals does is irreplaceable,” Koehler said. “This resolution helps us honor that work and remind people of the struggles the different communities Easterseals serves are faced with every day.”

    Senate Resolution 199 declares April 3, 2019, as “Easterseals Day” in Illinois, 100 years to the day Edgar Allen founded the National Society for Crippled Children, which grew into the Easterseals.

  • creditcards 032919SPRINGFIELD – Legislation intended to protect the credit card and bank account numbers of government entities was passed by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) today.

    “This is one of those pieces of legislation that is hard to believe needed to happen,” Koehler said. “We must take every precaution to protect these credit cards from getting misused or worse, stolen.”

    The legislation, Senate Bill 1712, would exempt credit card numbers, debit card numbers, bank account numbers, Federal Employer Identification Number, security code numbers, passwords, and similar account information from Freedom of Information Act Requests if it is believed the disclosure could result in identity theft or the defrauding of a government entity.

    SB 1712 passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the House of Representatives.

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction.

    “Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.”

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – The POW/MIA flag will be flown at all Illinois public airports under legislation that passed the Illinois Senate today.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1127, was joined by members of the Peoria American Legion Post #2 today for the bill’s passage.

    “This legislation sends a clear message to our veterans that they and their comrades are not forgotten,” Koehler said. “I am proud to have been able to work with the Peoria American Legion post, Gary Hall and others to get this done.”

    The idea was brought to Springfield by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

    The measure now goes to the House of Representatives. 

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    SPRINGFIELD – Legislation inspired by a Peoria-area veteran advanced out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1127, which requires airports in Illinois to fly the POW/MIA flag.

    “Honoring our veterans with public displays is crucial for younger generations to understand and remember their sacrifices,” Koehler said. “This legislation is just one small step we can take to show our veterans that we have not forgotten them.”

    The idea was brought to Springfield by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

    The measure now goes before the whole Senate for a vote.

  • koehler 051618PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) agrees that more must be done to protect the environment from climate change after Gov. JB Pritzker today signed an executive order relating to the environment.

    “If we don’t do anything to reduce our carbon emissions, we are eventually going reach the point of no return,” Koehler said. “Gov. Pritzker is right to continue this fight and I look forward to working with him to expand green energy production and green energy jobs in Illinois.”

  • koehler 120418LEWISTOWN – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is urging area residents to be cautious of scams in the wake of a tornado that rolled through southern Fulton County last weekend.

    “After these disasters happen, some people will inevitably prey on those affected,” Koehler said. “I urge all residents in Fulton County to proceed with caution and do their due diligence when accepting help.”

    Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity can report it to the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Springfield by calling 1-800-243-0618.

    Saturday’s tornado moved through the Lewistown area, causing damage to structures and trees. No one was reported hurt or missing,

    Area residents should follow these steps to avoid scams:

    • Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repair services. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
    • Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-243-0618) to check out a contractor and to learn if any complaints have been filed against a particular business.
    • Visit the Better Business Bureau’s central Illinois, St. Louisor Chicagowebsites to see if a business is a member and whether any complaints have been lodged against it.
    • Even if there is a need to act quickly, get written estimates from multiple contractors, and don’t be rushed into a deal.
    • Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
    • Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
    • Never pay in cash.
    • Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
    • In the case of disaster repair, you have an additional right to cancel. If your insurance carrier denies coverage, you have the right to cancel the contract within five days of when your insurance carrier denies your coverage.
    • Ask to see required state and local permits and licenses. Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies. If the contractor does not have a required license, or if the name on the license doesn’t match the name on the contractor’s business card or truck, that should raise a red flag. Please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s websiteto search licenses. Contact the Department of Insurance at (866) 445-5364 to verify that the public adjuster is licensed and in good standing.

     

     

  • koehler 051618PEORIA – One of nation’s largest steel manufacturers has reached a deal to purchase a Peoria steel mill that has served the area since 1889.

    The Dallas-based parent company of Keystone Steel and Wire, which is located on the south side of Peoria and employs nearly 1,000 people, announced this week that it will become part of Liberty Steel USA.

    “The news today is great for the thousands of employees of Keystone Steel and the entire Peoria area,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “We have always been and will continue to be immensely proud of our manufacturing traditions in Peoria as well as the thousands of workers that make it possible.”

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  • koehler 051618SPRINGFIELD – Disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich could receive a pardon from President Trump according to reports on Thursday. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

    “In 2009, the Illinois Senate, in a unanimous vote of 59 to 0, voted to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office. I was one of those 59 Senators. After I heard testimony from an FBI source about his shakedown of a children’s hospital for a political donation before he would sign an important piece of legislation, it was pretty clear that we had a corrupt governor.

    “He was ultimately convicted of numerous crimes and sent to prison. Had he ever come clean with the public about what he had done in a humble and sincere way, I could feel sorry for him. But to this day his arrogance pervades.

    “President Trump's consideration of giving him a pardon confirms for me that the common bonds between the pair are arrogance and ego-centricity. “

  • koehler 041218SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed legislation today allowing Peoria County to redevelop the site of the former Hanna City Work Camp for private use.

    The property was obtained by the county in 2008 under the condition that is would remain available for public use or be returned to the state. House Bill 4319 would allow Peoria County to sell the land for private development.   

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored the legislation alongside State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) to spur economic growth in rural Peoria County.

    “Any opportunity to grow jobs in downstate Illinois should be looked at,” Koehler said. “By allowing the private sector to come in and create jobs, we are helping the community.”

    The state will receive 10 percent of the proceeds of the sale under HB 4319. The measure now goes to the governor. 

  • koehler 051618SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that would give families of armed service members killed in action or on duty the power to terminate their fallen loved ones’ lease obligations passed the Illinois Senate today.

    Current law allows service members to terminate a lease if they receive orders for a change in duty station or deployment longer than 90 days. House Bill 4317 would extend the right to terminate to the dependents of fallen service members.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is sponsoring the measure after a constituent in his district brought the matter to Springfield.

    “To be frank, I was shocked to learn that this isn’t already the law,” Koehler said. “Gold Star families shouldn’t be tied down to leases when going through the loss of a loved one.”

    HB 4317 now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature. 

  • koehler 042518SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed legislation today to protect students with asthma by allowing their schools to keep backup inhalers on hand.

    The measure, Senate bill 3015, would allow school nurses or other personnel to administer asthma medication that is registered in the name of a school district, public school, charter school or nonpublic school to a person in respiratory distress. Similar laws already apply to life-saving EpiPens, which are applied to combat severe allergic reactions.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said the legislation will help build on the progress the state has made thus far in combating asthma.

    “Illinois has made great strides in helping children with asthma attend school without the fear that their school will be unprepared for an inevitable asthma attack,” Koehler said “SB 3015 will help children even more by allowing backup inhalers to be kept at the school, similar to EpiPens.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health, approximately 8.4 percent of children in the United States and 13.6 percent of children in Illinois currently have asthma. Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism with an estimated 13.8 million school days missed due to asthma in the United States in 2014 alone.

     

  • koehler 041718SPRINGFIELD – Legislation guaranteeing that mass transit workers are allowed to take bathroom breaks while on duty passed the Senate Transportation Committee today.

    Senate Bill 2210 would guarantee up to ten minutes of restroom breaks for every four hours worked by a transit worker. The legislation would also guarantee the workers are not docked any pay for taking the break.

  • koehler 041218SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that brings transparency to the fracking process passed a key senate committee today.

    Senate Bill 3174, sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), would require the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to post drilling reports from fracking sites within 30 days of receiving them. The legislation also requires the operators of the wells to provide a list of chemicals being used in drilling and the GPS coordinates of their wells.

    Koehler said the bill is about letting landowners know what’s going on in their communities.

    “People who live near these fracking operations should be able to know what is happening on the properties that in some cases border their own,” Koehler said. “This legislation can bring some transparency and accountability to the process which will allow people to make informed decisions and protect themselves.”

    The legislation awaits final action in the senate.