51196798515 bc99832548 b rPEORIA – College-bound students in Illinois will now be able to apply to any of Illinois’ 12 public schools, as well as dozens of private institutions, using only one online form, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced.

Koehler and other members of the Illinois General Assembly worked alongside the Illinois Board of Higher Education to allot $1 million in funding that will add all of the state’s public universities to the Common App platform, making it easier for students in Illinois to consider staying in-state for their college education.

“We are lucky to have so many outstanding colleges and universities here in Central Illinois and across the state,” Koehler said. “By making it easier for students to apply for and be accepted into these schools, we are encouraging them to stay in Illinois and use their knowledge and skills to build a brighter future for our state.”

Waivers are also available for low-income Common App applicants who may be concerned about the cost of applying for college, but some Illinois colleges have no application fees or will waive fees if necessary.

“Having all of the public universities on the Common App will make it easier for students to apply,” said Ginger Ostro, executive director of IBHE. “We see this as a tool for more students to explore the opportunities at all Illinois colleges and universities and remain in Illinois for their post-secondary education.”

Koehler encourages all interested students and families to visit the Common App website to learn more about the application process.

Category: Press Releases

15766597425 4fdb60b118 b rPEORIA – In recognition of sacrifices made by brave Illinoisans who have served our country, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is inviting people to write friendly and encouraging letters to residents of veteran’s homes ahead of Veterans Day.

“I am proud to represent a great deal of veterans across Central Illinois,” Koehler said. “Our communities benefit every day from the sacrifices they have made for us, and it is important that we show our appreciation and honor those sacrifices.”

Operation Rising Spirit is an initiative of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs that encourages communities to write letters to residents in the care of veterans’ homes in Illinois. At a time when isolation is at a record high, the letters are meant to extend friendly affirmation for the bravery and courage of veterans both throughout their service and the pandemic.

“Especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation for many people living in long-term care facilities, kind messages and words of encouragement are an easy way to make our veterans feel remembered and appreciated,” Koehler said. “I hope that members of our community will take the time to reach out and make a positive impact.”

The campaign will focus on veterans’ homes in Illinois, located in Anna, Chicago, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy. To send a message to a veteran or a veteran home, visit Send-a-note. For people wanting to send physical letters, locations for each of the veterans’ homes can be found here.

Category: Press Releases

pexels pixabay 263402 rSPRINGFIELD – Communities in central Illinois and across the state would receive quicker and more reliable emergency medical services under legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) that advanced out of the Senate on Wednesday.

“By not allowing qualified and certified emergency medical personnel to work in their field, we run the risk of denying lifesaving care to our communities,” Koehler said. "This legislation works to ensure that our EMS providers are well-staffed, and that emergency care in Illinois is efficient and reliable.”

House Bill 2431 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to adopt rules that would allow EMS personnel who have both been certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and have applied for licensure to operate on provisional status.

This legislation will address staffing shortages in the EMS industry across the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many EMS providers have faced challenges finding adequate staffing and keeping ambulances available to serve communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our health care workers especially hard, leading to staffing shortages,” Koehler said. “I hope that EMS staffs across the state are able to receive assistance and relief as a result of this legislation.”

House Bill 2431 will now return to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

FOID Card Button Draft rPEORIA – Thanks to work by the Illinois State Police and legislative initiatives led by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the state’s FOID card backlog has greatly reduced over the past year.

“Our communities have been struggling with the backlog for years,” Koehler said. “Safe and responsible gun owners who are doing the lawful thing by submitting their applications and waiting their turn should have quicker access to obtaining their licenses. I’m pleased to know that the unnecessary hassle and lengthy wait times are dissipating.”

Since 2020, ISP hired nearly 30 new Firearms Eligibility Analyst Trainees and other administrative personnel who are responsible for improving and streamlining FOID application processing. The increased employment has led to a backlog reduction of 89% for renewals and 75% for new applications.

This work by the ISP to address the backlog comes just months before House Bill 562, a law sponsored by Koehler and initiated by the state police, goes into effect. Under the new law, the FOID card renewal process will be expedited for safe and responsible gun owners in an effort to reduce hassle and prevent future backlogs. Lawful gun owners will additionally find it easier to keep their FOID cards and concealed carry licenses on them at all times through a new electronic option that will be made available for both documents.

“We can keep firearms out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others without infringing on the rights of responsible and lawful gun owners,” Koehler said. “This legislation achieves both of these goals, and it has been a pleasure to work alongside the Illinois State Police to develop and pass this law that will help keep our communities safe.”

Category: Press Releases

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