Recycle LogoContinuing his long-standing effort to protect and promote the environment, State Senator Dave Koehler has queued up two pieces of green legislation for a Senate vote later this month. One makes it easier to compost on small-scale farms. The other will make it possible for non-profits to run biogas facilities.

The composting plan will allow small farms to accept more biodegradable materials from other locations. Koehler is co-sponsoring a related measure that makes it easier to compost in urban farms and community gardens.

"The classic environmentalist credo is 'reduce, reuse, recycle,'" Koehler said. "Composting is a good example of reducing our reliance on chemical fertilizers by reusing plant and food waste that would otherwise go into landfills. More composting is a good thing."

Composting is highly supported by members of the local food movement because it allows small-scale farms and urban rooftop and community gardens to feed their crops. It also allows organic farmers to fertilize naturally.

Koehler's other effort – allowing non-profit companies to operate biogas facilities – is particularly relevant as biogas facilities open up across Illinois, from downstate Danville to urban Chicago. Biogas is methane created when organic materials – such as plant matter or human or animal waste material - decompose. The gas is then often burned to produce electricity.

"If a non-profit group can raise the funds to start a biogas facility, government regulation shouldn't get in the way," Koehler said. "Together with wind, hydro and solar power, biogas is helping us create clean, non-fossil-fuel energy."

Category: News

koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD –One of the most important pieces of the federal Affordable Care Act is health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are the marketplaces where private individuals and small businesses can go to purchase their health insurance. Illinois has so far failed to create an exchange, and left the important program to an agreement between the governor's office and the federal government.

Senator Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat, is moving to change that. His legislation – the first viable plan introduced in the Senate – has passed a key committee and is expected to move forward. It has the support of consumer advocacy groups, hospitals and the insurance industry.

"Illinois needs a health care exchange that will meet the unique needs of our state," Koehler said. "A federal one-size-fits-all model just can't do as good a job of meeting the needs of our people and businesses."

Koehler's plan, House Bill 3227, establishes the following:

  • Illinois will have a state-run health insurance exchange beginning October 1, 2014. It will be an online marketplace that will allow consumers to compare insurance prices, in much the same way that websites like Orbitz and Travelocity allow people to compare airfare.
  • The Department of Insurance will review and recommend the health insurance plans that will be available on the exchange. All plans must meet state and federal insurance guidelines.
  • An 11-member Exchange Board, appointed by the governor, will certify all plans approved by the Department of Insurance.
  • Health insurance plans and dental plans must be available to individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in 2014. In 2016, business that have up to 100 employees will also qualify.
  • The health insurance exchange will be paid for by Illinois health insurance companies, not taxpayer dollars or a fee on consumers.
Category: News

koehler75x75Flooding from recent rains has ravaged areas in Peoria, Tazewell and Fulton counties, where many residents have found their homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by high water. State Senator Dave Koehler is joining with the American Red Cross to help victims of flooding by delivering supplies and serving food to those affected.

Koehler will join other volunteers at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 3, at Woodland Baptist Church in Peoria. For more information, please download this flier.

Category: News

koehler0411SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate that strongly encourages hunters to donate the meat from the game animals they kill if they aren't going to eat it themselves.

"Our state has a very successful program to allow hunters to donate meat when they don't want to eat it themselves," Koehler said. "There's no reason to leave perfectly good food to rot while there are families throughout the state going hungry."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources operates the highly successful Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, which allows hunters to donate venison and other meat to food banks and other charities throughout Illinois. The program has provided 3.5 million meals to hungry families. To learn more about the program or to find a local participating meat processor, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov.

"I've seen hunters leave three or four partially butchered deer along the road, in view of everyone that drives by. We hope to encourage hunters to donate deer to the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program," said Sergeant Jamie Mauler, who works for the department.

Specifically, Koehler's proposal:

  • Prohibits throwing away edible, easily processed meat from game animals that hunters don't want to keep for themselves. This specifically includes unspoiled breast meat of birds and front and back haunches of mammals.
  • Prohibits dumping or abandoning the carcasses of animals killed by hunters on public property (or private property without the permission of the owner).
  • Establishes that violators of this law can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor.
Category: News

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