Koehler

  • Koehler: Local schools to get nearly $2 million for digital upgrades

    E-learningPEORIA – School districts in the 46th Illinois Senate District are set to receive nearly $2 million in government funding to improve students’ access to digital technology, including more than $700,000 for Peoria School District 150.

    “E-learning is playing such an important role as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “I know our local school districts will use these funds to help ensure every student has access to the technology they need to continue their education during this difficult time.”

  • Koehler reminds local business owners to apply for next round of Business Interruption Grants

    koehler 012820PEORIA – To curb the devastating economic effects brought on by COVID-19, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is encouraging small business owners to apply for the second round of Business Interruption Grants.

    “With the first round of Business Interruption Grants, several local businesses received financial relief and were able to keep their doors open,” Koehler said. “With so many businesses still struggling to maintain operations, it’s doubly important that the state continues to step up to help however possible.”

    Applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program will be made available this Thursday afternoon and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.

    The second wave of funds from BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with a focus on businesses located downstate or in disproportionately impacted areas. Application information for the second round of funds and can be found on DCEO’s website at Illinois.gov/dceo.

  • Lawmakers join for Energy Summit to discuss coal to solar transition in Illinois

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  • Koehler announces mentoring grant for Peoria Public Library

    peoria library 081120PEORIA – The Peoria Public Library and is the recipient of a $12,500 mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state’s office, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

    The grant was awarded through the Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

    The Peoria Public Library is one of 28 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

    “I’m thrilled to see that Secretary White is demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of public libraries in our state,” Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “Well funded libraries are an invaluable resource for our communities. This grant will help provide students in Peoria with the tools they need to be successful in the future.”

    In all, the secretary of state awarded $559,358.00 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve low-income and underserved populations.

  • Koehler remembers civil rights leader Rev. C.T. Vivian

    rev vivian 071720PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler issued the following statement Friday after news of the death of Peoria civil rights icon C.T. Vivian:

    “Rev. C.T. Vivian was a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement and gave pride to all Peorians because of his Peoria roots. I met him years ago when he spoke in Peoria and came away in awe of his dedication and insight on where we need to be headed as a nation. I thank God for the life of this dedicated man. We need to continue his memory to help inspire future generations.”

    C.T. Vivian was a civil rights activist whom Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the greatest preacher to ever live.” Vivian’s career began in Peoria, where he was hired to work for the Carver Community Center. While at Carver Community Center, Vivian participated in his first civil rights sit-in, where he successfully integrated Barton’s Cafeteria.

  • Local organizations receive over $200,000 in adult literacy grants

    Senator KoehlerPEORIA – To provide residents with an opportunity to improve vital life skills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced local organizations will receive more than $200,000 in grants from the secretary of state’s office to help adult learners develop reading, mathematics, writing, and English-language skills.

    “Providing adult residents with more learning opportunities can only benefit our community. Everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves, regardless of their age,” Koehler said. “I also encourage all who are able and willing to help their neighbors improve these vital life skills to volunteer.”

    More than 13,500 students will be served by adult literacy programs throughout Illinois. Supported by $5.6 million in state funds, the programs will depend on nearly 6,000 volunteer tutors to provide skills training for students, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Adult literacy projects are focused on improving reading, writing and math and are targeted at Illinois adults who read below the 9th-grade level or speak English at a beginning level.

    Local organizations receiving these grants include:

    • Spoon River College, $54,000
    • YWCA Pekin, $65,000
    • Neighborhood House, $51,488
    • Peoria County Regional Office of Education, $60,597

    Those interested in volunteering should contact the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800-321-9511.

  • Koehler appointed to state’s reopening commission

    koehler 012820SPRINGFIELD – To provide a voice for Downstate Illinois in the recovery process, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has been appointed to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group tasked with addressing public health and economic challenges as the state continues the reopening process.

    “A safe reopening of Illinois will require input from a broad group of individuals,” Koehler said. “I’m honored to have been chosen to help lead as we continue toward the recovery of our state’s economy. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner with my colleagues in the Senate and House to ensure a smooth recovery process.”

    The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission will enable cooperation between the legislative and executive branches in dealing with the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. The commission will work closely with the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on plans to revive the various sectors of the Illinois economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The commission is made up of 14 members drawn from both political parties and both chambers of the General Assembly. Members of the commission will serve without compensation.

    DCEO will provide a written report to the commission and the General Assembly every month regarding the status of current and proposed recovery efforts, with metrics and other information to monitor the state’s progress. The first report will be delivered July 1.

    The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission was created by Senate Bill 2135.

  • Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    harmon 03052020CM0660SPRINGFIELD, IL – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced four appointees to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group created to help guide Illinois through the reopening process following stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    Senators Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will represent Senate Democrats on the commission. 

  • Koehler commends vote by mail expansion effort

    Vote by mailPEORIA – Vote by mail legislation signed into law today will provide Illinoisans with a safe way to participate in the upcoming November election, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said.

    “It’s important to take into account the sense of unease brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Koehler, who supported Senate Bill 1863. “Those who express hesitation about congregating in large groups deserve to have their concerns recognized. Providing increased access to the vote is a simple way to provide some peace of mind.”

    Under Senate Bill 1863 any person who has voted in the past two years — in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — would receive an application for a vote by mail ballot in their mailbox. It can then be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or will include instructions for making the request electronically.

    Voters can still go the polls on Election Day, which the legislation makes a state holiday in 2020.

    “Our goal is, as always, to encourage as many people as possible to exercise their right to vote.” Koehler said. “This legislation provides a safe, secure means of doing so this November.”

    This legislation is effective immediately.

  • Koehler: State’s budget meets immediate needs without sacrificing vital services

    koehler chair 052220PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) offered the following statement in response to the governor’s approval of the state budget for the upcoming year:

    “COVID-19 has presented our state with unprecedented challenges to which there are no easy solutions,” Koehler said. “When I returned to Springfield last month to pass a budget for the upcoming year, it was clear we needed to take swift, substantive action to preserve our local businesses and alleviate some of the hardship so many of our residents are facing at this moment.” 

    The state’s budget for the upcoming year includes:

    • $400 million for local health departments;
    • $250 million in CARES Act funding for downstate local governments;
    • More than $200 million set aside to help businesses affected by COVID-19 in downstate communities;
    • Nearly $80 million for rent and mortgage assistance for people affected by COVID-19 in downstate communities;
    • Nearly $60 million in additional funding for the Department of Employment Security to help address the challenges with the unemployment system;
    • $10 million for mental health and substance abuse treatment related to COVID-19 in downstate communities.

     “While we have certainly been presented with an unfortunate situation, this is the sort of moment in which the legislature is supposed to step up and do what is right by those who we represent,” Koehler said. “This budget adequately uses the resources we have available to us at the state level to meet our immediate needs without sacrificing vital services.”

      

  • Koehler legislation aimed to alleviate fiscal woes for property owners signed into law

    koehler 031020SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois begins the next phase of its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, property owners will see meaningful financial relief under legislation spearheaded by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) which was signed into law today.

    "The State of Illinois has just begun to implement measures to aid working families and small businesses while they persevere through a harsh reality,” Koehler said. “In my view, implementing property tax relief is one of the most beneficial actions we can take on behalf of our residents, and I’m proud to have worked alongside colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this issue.”

    Under this legislation local businesses and residents would see property tax relief in the form of:

    • Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019
    • Allowing counties with less than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020
    • Deferred property tax sales

    “Providing some leeway on property tax payments is a natural place to start, but we have more to accomplish,” Koehler said. “People are hurting in every sense of the word, and it is our moral obligation to provide assistance wherever possible.”

    This legislation is effective immediately.

  • Koehler: Let us peacefully pursue justice, rather than destruction

    Sen. Dave KoehlerPEORIA – In response to the eruption of violence throughout the Peoria area last night, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) released the following statement:

    “In the early 1970’s I worked for and marched with Cesar Chavez, founder and leader of the United Farm Workers Union. Non-violent protest was necessary to get the attention of the powers to be that things had to change. The time had come for justice among the ranks of America’s farm workers.

  • Koehler emphasizes expansion of utility bill assistance program

    koehler flr 052320PEORIA – To give residents who are struggling the chance to receive assistance with utility bills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is highlighting the expansion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) included in the state budget.

    “LIHEAP is just one of the many vital services our residents are relying on to get them through this difficult moment,” Koehler said. “If people are just barely unqualified for this program, that does not mean they aren’t struggling and couldn’t use the financial assistance. The expansion of this program will allow more people to take advantage of the opportunity for lower utility bills.”

    The LIHEAP expansion would increase the qualifying threshold from 150% of the federal poverty level to 200% of the federal poverty level, allowing more people to take advantage of available aid from the state. Additionally, the amount of credit issued to those who qualify would increase to:

    • $2,400 ($200 per month) annually if applicants are above the federal poverty level
    • $3,000 ($250 per month) annually if applicants are under the federal poverty level

    For a single person to meet the federal poverty level an income of $12,760 per year is required, and for family of four, $26,200 per year.

    “This is the sort of moment when government is supposed to step up and offer a helping hand wherever possible,” Koehler said. “Forcing people to choose between paying their utility bill and affording groceries for the month is unacceptable. By giving more people access to financial assistance programs such as LIHEAP, Illinoisans won’t be forced to make that choice.”

    The state budget proposal now awaits Governor Pritzker’s approval.

     

  • Koehler works to provide financial relief for property owners

    koehler chair 052220SPRINGFIELD – To provide much needed flexibility and relief as businesses and counties begin to reopen, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored legislation that would give property owners the means to continue meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19.

    "I led the Senate’s economic revitalization working group with one goal in mind. We had to provide people with real, tangible solutions to the enormous challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Koehler said. “Implementing property tax relief measures and extending payment deadlines is where we have to start as we begin to work toward the recovery of our local economies.”

  • Koehler votes for safe elections

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – To ensure safe participation in the upcoming election, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted to expand voting options for Illinoisans.

    “Because we are unsure of what further consequences we could be facing this fall as we continue managing the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, we ought to offer folks more options as they consider how to cast their ballot,” Koehler said. “The promotion of safe, secure elections should not be a partisan issue.”

  • Koehler: online clinics are available to curb rising utility costs

    utility meter 051220PEORIA – To potentially save homeowners money on rising utility bills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is encouraging residents to participate in the Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) Virtual Utility Bill Clinic.

    “While we spend more of our time at home with loved ones, the increase in utility costs is inevitable,” Koehler said. “As we continue to manage the consequences of COVID-19, every dollar counts. People need to know there are free programs available that can provide folks with measures to take which could result in lower utility costs. I urge homeowners to participate in a Citizens Utility Board clinic to see what savings may be in store for them.”

    To participate, residents should send a copy of their most recent electric, natural gas and telecom bills to CUB at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Attn: Virtual Utility Bill Clinic.” Participants can remove personal information, but their documents should include the account holder’s name.

    A CUB specialist will evaluate the bill to determine if you are signed up with an alternative supplier or if you are paying for unnecessary products or services. CUB will also let you know if you are eligible for money-saving programs, like financial assistance, and share information about energy-efficiency programs.

    For more information on the program, please visit www.citizensutilityboard.org.

  • Koehler works to ensure reopening of local state wildlife areas

    springlake 050520PEORIA – Following the announcement that Spring Lake and Banner Marsh will not be reopened alongside numerous other parks throughout the state, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) joined fellow downstate Democrats in sending a letter to the governor urging him to work with the legislature to reopen area state parks.

    “Parks are a vital resource for every part of our state,” Koehler said. “I’m disappointed central Illinoisans won’t be able to utilize two of our area’s finest natural resources.”

    If Spring Lake and Banner Marsh were to reopen, they could provide central Illinoisans with an avenue to safely escape the confines of their homes periodically.

    “We are all frustrated by this health crisis and the economic devastation that has resulted in our communities,” Koehler said. “The very least we can do is work to provide the people of central Illinois with more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. I look forward to working with the administration to make this happen.”

  • Downstate Senate Democrats push to double funding for local health departments

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  • Koehler provides local entities with disinfectant supplies

    east peoria fire2PEORIA – To further assist in local sanitation efforts to protect against the coronavirus, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has facilitated the distribution of surface disinfectant supplies to numerous businesses and organizations throughout the Peoria area.

    “As we begin to implement the next phase of the Stay at Home order, it’s essential that we equip local businesses, governments, and organizations with the tools necessary to protect against infection,” Koehler said. “Our priority is for our businesses to reopen in a safe environment, and this is a crucial step in that direction. I’d like to thank the East Peoria Fire Department for expanding on their already invaluable service by picking up and distributing these supplies.”

  • Koehler offers personal protective equipment to local businesses and organizations

    koehler 031020PEORIA – To provide a boost in community sanitation efforts, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is offering local businesses and organizations an opportunity to acquire a supply of disinfectant from Patho Sans, a company based in Glendale Heights, Illinois. 

    “Because our new normal requires us to be proactive, it’s essential to provide businesses and other community organizations with the tools to maintain a sanitary work space,” Koehler said. “In addition to providing surface disinfectant, my office is seeking donations of hand sanitizer, masks and other personal protective equipment. Anyone who has an abundance of these materials is being urged to contact my office so we can get them in the hands of those in need.”

    The disinfectant is a surface cleaner and comes in five-gallon containers, which will include a pouring spout and some spray bottles. There is a 30-day shelf life, so businesses and other interested organizations would need to determine what is necessary for a 30-day supply. 

    Please reach out to Senator Koehler’s district office at 309-677-0120 if your organization is interested. There is a limited supply, and materials will be provided on a first come first serve basis.