koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement in response to Governor Pat Quinn's budget proposal:

"I honestly don't believe that the governor would sign this budget. Pat Quinn cares too much about this state's children to be serious about cutting education funding by this much.

"What the governor is really doing here is trying to scare the General Assembly into passing pension reform. I agree that we need to do something. I do. We need not only action by the Legislature, but also leadership from the governor to get this done."

Category: Press Releases

After a hearing in Peoria last week, an Illinois Senate committee has directed the Department of Public Health (DPH) to write official rules about smoking in outdoor restaurant patios and bar beer gardens.  The hearing was prompted by an incident in which many Peoria-area bars and patrons received smoking tickets for violating the Smoke Free Illinois Act when they thought they were in compliance with the law.  In at least one case, the bar owners had explicitly sought the advice of DPH before they started construction on their beer garden.

“We really need to clarify rules for the police, as well as restaurant and bar owners,” said State Senator Dave Koehler, who has taken a lead role in pushing the issue to the forefront.  “We can’t have Public Health telling bar owners one thing and the police enforcing another.  That’s just not fair for anyone.”

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Category: Press Releases

Legislation sponsored by Senator Dave Koehler that would prevent phone customers from “cramming” passed out of the House and Senate this week.  The bill, which is supported by the Attorney General’s office, would prevent “cramming,” a scam that has hit Illinois consumers and businesses with inflated phone charges. 

“The people of Illinois lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to these telephone bill scams,” said Sen. David Koehler, Senate bill sponsor. “Banning third-party billing is a simple, common-sense solution to a problem that affects thousands of Illinois families and businesses.”

“Cramming” occurs when a third party uses a phone number as a credit card, charging the customer with a fee or charge for a service that they neither asked for nor used, such as email service, identity theft, or other services or programs.  According to the US Senate Commerce Committee, “cramming” has generated $2 billion annually for these third-parties nationally through the use of more than 300 million individual charges. In Illinois, more than 300 lawsuits have been filed against “crammers,” representing more than 200,000 customers and businesses.

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Category: Press Releases

Years of less-than-adequate state funding have taken their toll on Wildlife Prairie State Park.  The 2,000 acre park, which allows the people of Illinois to see the state’s indigenous wildlife in a natural setting, has survived the state’s budget cuts largely due to the efforts of Friends of Wildlife Prairie State Park, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the park’s mission of promoting conservation, education, and recreation.  Senator Dave Koehler and Senator Darin LaHood have proposed legislation that will permanently transfer ownership of the park to the Friends board.

“Wildlife Prairie Park is one of the best nature parks in the Midwest,” Koehler said.  “It’s an important place for the Peoria community—many of us have great memories of spending time at the park with our families.  Given the state of Illinois’ budget challenges, we all agree that transferring the park to Friends is best for both the state and the park.”

Despite Koehler’s best efforts to get funding for the park reinstated, the state of Illinois has been unable to provide significant funding to the park for the past two years, a situation unlikely to change in the near future.

“I want to commend the Friends board for all the hard work they’ve done to keep Wildlife Prairie Park a great destination that draws people from across the Midwest to the Peoria area,” LaHood said.  “I also want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who are supporting our efforts to transfer the park back into private ownership.”

Though the state is conveying ownership of the park to the Friends group, it hasn’t totally relinquished its interest in the property—the legal agreement requires the park group to keep the park open to the public and to maintain its current mission.

“I know the Friends Board only intends to improve the park,” Koehler said.  “Still, it’s reassuring to know that part of the agreement is to guarantee that Wildlife Prairie will remain open to the public.”

Koehler and LaHood’s legislation has passed the Illinois Senate and now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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

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