Koehler Map GrantsSenator Koehler visited with students from Peoria today who attend Western Illinois University. They were in Springfield to discuss the importance of state funding for higher education and the Monetary Award Program.

For more information on the Monetary Award Program, please click here.

Category: News

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) visits with a vendor at the Old Capitol Farmers Market in Springfield during its opening day May 14.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to make it easier for farmers and other vendors to sell their products at farmers markets throughout the state is on its way to the governor's desk.

Under Illinois' current law, local health departments set the rules for buying and selling food at farmers markets, which has resulted in a hodge-podge of conflicting regulations. Koehler's plan would allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a single set of regulations for the entire state.

"Making it easier for Illinois farmers to sell their products throughout the state benefits everyone," said Koehler, a Peoria Democrat who has always been a strong supporter of farmers markets. "It gives customers more choices and opens up new markets for local growers."

For example, state law requires that all raw meat be kept under 41 degrees. However, some local health departments require that all meats be sold frozen. Some say that farmers must use mechanical refrigeration units. Others allow coolers and ice packs.

"This change would be very helpful for local growers like me," said Doug Day, owner of Spring Bay Farm in Woodford County. "It would lower our costs, both in time and money."

The legislation would also create rules for offering samples and require labels that make it easier for customers to identify where the food they buy was grown or produced.

Illinois has more than 375 farmers markets with more than 1,000 farmers and other vendors. They connect farmers and other producers directly to customers, providing locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, cheeses, meats, nuts, baked goods and more.

Many now accept credit cards and debit cards, and the state has pushed to make the markets more accessible to food stamp users. Farmers markets often offer fresh produce at rates that are competitive with – or even cheaper than – grocery stores.

Category: News

koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is refusing his food and lodging reimbursement for Wednesday's special session of the General Assembly.

Koehler has a long history of refusing to take extra compensation at a time when the state is struggling to pay its bills. He has voted to cut his own pay by nearly five percent for the past four years and donated his food and lodging compensation to charity when former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Gov. Pat Quinn called special sessions.

"This special session is ultimately about the state budget," Koehler said. "Legislators need to lead by example and show that we are willing to make the same sacrifices that so many families across Illinois have already made to cope with the tough economy."

Category: News

koehler0619SPRINGFIELD – The first of a series of hearings on State Senator Dave Koehler's (D-Peoria) proposal to label genetically engineered food is scheduled for Thursday in Bloomington-Normal.

The hearing is open to the public. Anyone who wishes to submit testimony should file a witness slip online at my.ilga.gov or in person the day of the hearing. Due to time constraints, Koehler is limiting spoken testimony to two panels – one of supporters of the legislation and the other of opponents. Each panel will consist of four people and have up to one hour to present its position. Everyone else who wishes to testify is asked to submit comments in writing.

Date: June 20, 2013
Time: 10 a.m. to noon
Location: Old Main Room, Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, 100 N. University St., Normal
For more information: Sen. Koehler's district office (309) 677-0120 or Springfield office (217) 782-8250

Additional hearings are planned for Carbondale in August and Chicago in September.

Category: News

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120