Listening to the governorState Senator Dave Koehler issued the following response to Governor Bruce Rauner's first budget proposal. Rauner's plan provides a slight increase to preschool-12th grade education and prisons, while reducing – in some cases greatly – most other state spending.

"I realize that the governor had a huge task in developing this budget plan, and I am still trying to find something I can support. So many of the cuts he proposes will devastate middle-class and working families, so my concern is where is the shared sacrifice?

"If this proposal became law, we would see higher property taxes, higher tuition costs, fewer education programs that prepare our citizens for careers and college, and the end of programs that literally save people's lives. The one thing I can agree with is that we need to stop reeling from budget crisis to budget crisis year after year. I just don't agree that this is the right path.

"I hope we can work with the governor to craft a budget that makes Illinois competitive without losing all compassion for working and middle-class families."

Category: Press Releases

001koehlerSPRINGFIELD – To help ensure that Illinois' state government reflects the will of the people, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted in support of legislation to create a special election whenever a statewide office is going to be vacant for more than two years.

"One of the core principles of our democracy is letting the people decide who will represent them and manage their government," Koehler said. "We have a responsibility to allow voters to choose who represents them as their attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller, if one of those offices becomes vacant."

Any vacancy in any of those offices that occurs with more than 28 months remaining in the term would cause a special election at the next general election. Because the special election would coincide with the general election, it would come at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The legislation is House Bill 4567. It now goes to the governor for his approval.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Every year, the Illinois Environmental Council – a 39-year-old organization that serves as the environmental community's voice before the Illinois state legislature – honors a select group of legislators who have taken firm steps to protect the environment. This year, state Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is one of the honorees.

"I really appreciate how much the Environmental Council does to protect and preserve our natural resources," Koehler said. "As Chair of the Agriculture Committee, I've been happy to work with the Environmental Council and other advocates to promote sustainable, environmentally sound agricultural practices."

In order to qualify as an Environmental Champion, legislators had to vote in support of eight pieces of legislation. Bills on the council's 2014 Environmental Scorecard include:

  • New rules for farmers markets to support local farmers and local food, sponsored by Senator Koehler. (House Bill 5657)
  • An authorization for the procurement of up to $30 million in solar power by the Illinois Power Agency. (House Bill 2427).
  • -New protections for cougars, bears and wolves. (Senate Bill 3049)
  • A ban on microbeads in personal care products to protect the Great Lakes – the first such ban in the world. (Senate Bill 2727).
  • A study on urban flooding by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. (Senate Bill 2966)
  • An expansion of the clean water initiative to fund loans for green stormwater infrastructure and pollution prevention projects. (Senate Bill 2780).

"Senator Dave Koehler voted 100% of the time with the environmental community on ten pieces of key legislation," said Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling. "The IEC is honored by Dave Koehler's dedication to Illinois' environment and we look forward to working together in the future."

Category: Press Releases

Pic-Services-Fire-RedCenterSPRINGFIELD – A new law, sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler, makes it a crime for a police dispatcher to tip off a criminal that law enforcement is nearby.

In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it's not a crime for a 911 dispatcher to let a drug dealer – or other criminal – know that police are in the area. The court called the case "troubling" and the defendant's actions "unjustifiable," but found nothing in Illinois law making such behavior illegal.

"When you call 911, you expect the dispatchers to be as professional as the police officers, paramedics and fire fighters," Koehler said. "This law will hold dispatchers to the same high standard."

In 1998, a police dispatcher tipped off a local drug dealer that law enforcement officials were in the area near his house in the Chicago suburbs. The Cook County State's Attorney charged her with official misconduct. The trial court found her guilty and sentenced her to two years of probation and 250 hours of community service.

However, the 911 dispatcher appealed the verdict. The appellate court ruled that nothing in Illinois law allowed her to be charged with official misconduct. The local police department had every right to fire her, but she hadn't broken any Illinois law. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed.

The new law fixes this loophole by expanding the definition of official misconduct to make it a Class 3 felony for a dispatcher – or anyone in a similar position – to warn a criminal that law enforcement is nearby or on the way.

The crime of official misconduct already covers a wide variety of corrupt acts by public employees, including accepting bribes and misusing one's authority for personal gain. The penalty for a Class 3 felony is two to five years in prison.

Now that the governor has signed the law, it takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Category: Press Releases


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Springfield Office:
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