Koehler

  • 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.

  • Koehler: Telehealth expansion will save lives

    telehealth2 041620PEORIA – In an effort to serve those who are potentially impacted by COVID-19 and are recovering at home, OSF Healthcare is launching telehealth locations in Peoria and other locations throughout Illinois, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday. 

    “By prioritizing the funding of telehealth services, we’re able to more easily serve areas of the state that have otherwise been overlooked,” Koehler said. “Simultaneously, this technology helps to prevent overcrowding in hospitals, allowing us to further reduce the spread of this virus within our communities. Thank you to the experts at OSF Health Care for their innovation and state officials for smoothly implementing this program. I urge residents to try to take advantage of this if they are able.”

    According to OSF, this pandemic health worker approach safeguards hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, limits the spread of contagion and protects access to quality healthcare for all.

    The OSF PHW teams are serving East Central and North Central Illinois communities include Peoria/Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Evergreen Park, Danville, Galesburg, Kewanee, Monmouth, Ottawa, Mendota, Streator, Pontiac and Rockford. The OSF Hotline number is 833-673-5669 and is available now. More information can be found at www.osfhealthcare.org.

    This collaboration was made possible through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and OSF HealthCare.

  • Koehler lauds decision to extend state tax filing deadline

    IRSdeadlinePeoria – To alleviate some of the financial anxieties many families are facing in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the state tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15,  a move State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said will help take some financial and emotional pressure off Illinoisans.

    “The decision by the governor to extend the Illinois state tax filing deadline is incredibly prudent,” Koehler said. “This will provide relief to workers who find themselves in uncharted territory as it pertains to their employment status and income. We have plenty of folks who are worried about where their next paycheck may be coming from. The last thing that needs to be on their mind at this moment is how they’re going to be paying their tax bill.”

    Over the course of the past several weeks Koehler has diligently worked to share vital information with constituents to help ease the burden that our communities are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    He encourages those with further questions to either contact his office via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by calling (309) 677-0120, or visiting the Illinois Senate Democrats’ coronavirus resource hub at http://illinoissenatedemocrats.com/covid-19

  • Koehler reminds Illinoisans of available tax assistance

    incometaxhelp 031120SPRINGFIELD – Low income families and senior citizens seeking help filing their 2019 income taxes are able to receive free help through several state programs, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

    “As Tax Day draws near, it’s vital that we ensure those who are in need receive the necessary help in an affordable, timely manner,” Koehler said. “By partnering with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the IRS and AARP we’re providing a way to relieve a burden for those who may be in need of it most.”

    The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, taxpayers who speak limited English and individuals 60 years of age or older.

    Additionally, AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program focuses on helping low-to-moderate income individuals, with special attention to those over 50 years of age. An AARP membership is not required.

    Illinois taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider closest to them by visiting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s website tax.illinois.gov.

  • Koehler announces open application period for $80 million in local economic development grants

    koehler 031020SPRINGFIELD – Local governments will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in grants to boost economic development and modernize infrastructure in their communities, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Tuesday.

    “By offering local governments the chance to invest in themselves, we’re continuing to demonstrate a commitment to downstate,” Koehler said. “When downstate thrives, Illinois thrives.”

    Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

    DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

    For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

  • The Majority Report 03/02/20 - Opioid committee hearing, a new suicide prevention bill and how lawmakers are going to tackle high medication costs

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    Suicide prevention should be as easy as a 911 call

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a 3-digit suicide hotline for Americans experiencing mental health crises.

    “Mental health crises are becoming more prevalent, specifically in young people, and we need national leadership on this issue,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Creating a dedicated emergency hotline for this will save lives.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Crowe holds opioid committee on ISP, DOI testimonies

    Sen. Rachelle CroweSPRINGFIELD — Hearing reports from agencies to update lawmakers on the implementation of the 2018 State Opioid Action Plan (SOAP), members of the Senate’s Special Committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement met Tuesday under the leadership of State Senator Rachelle Crowe.

    “Exploring opioid-related issues from every angle, from expanding mental health services to reporting and treating overdoses, is the only way we will see effective change in our communities,” Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) said. “By holding these hearings, we’re getting legislators and stakeholders in the same room for the opportunity to create solutions and increase access to opioid prevention, treatment and recovery programs.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Manar announces legislation to create Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set prescription price limits Sen. Andy Manar

    SPRINGFIELD — Over half of Illinois residents are burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs, according to a new Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS), commissioned in January 2020 by Protect Our Care Illinois and Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The survey, announced last week by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) found that 54% of respondents are either “worried” or “very worried” about affording the cost of prescription drugs, and 28% of Illinois adults have rationed or gone without medication due to the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication.

    Read more.

     


    Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy Sens. Elgie R. Sims and Dave Koehler with IMSA Students

    SPRINGFIELD — Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “This is a remarkable opportunity for these students to see firsthand how their government functions,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “It also gives my colleagues and me the chance to connect with some of the best and brightest students our state has to offer. The future is undeniably promising for each and every one of them, and I look forward to following their progress.”

    Read more.

     


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  • Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.