05312021CM1257SPRINGFIELD – All across this state, law-abiding gun owners have fallen victim to a bureaucratic backlog to renew their FOID cards—an issue that State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) aims to fix with FOID modernization legislation that he passed out of the Senate on Monday.

“One of the biggest obstacles we face with the FOID system is the enormous backlog of applications,” Koehler said. “There has to be a compromise between having a safe and effective system without making the process unnecessarily difficult for gun owners who have proven themselves to be safe and responsible. I think that this legislation accommodates both of those objectives.”

The bill seeks to protect communities by enhancing existing background checks as a means to more effectively ensure that firearms are kept out of the wrong hands. For gun owners who have proven themselves to not be dangerous, the legislation would offer the option to apply for an automatically-renewing FOID card with the voluntary submission of fingerprints. FOID cards and concealed carry licenses would also be condensed into one document and electronic copies would be made available, making it easier for gun owners to keep their license with them at any given time.

“This legislation will allow the Illinois State Police to really focus on keeping our communities safe by ensuring that firearms are kept away from people who are dangerous, both to themselves and others,” Koehler said.

House Bill 562 passed the Senate with 40 votes.

Category: Press Releases

05282021CM0766 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to expand the venues where home-cooked food operations may sell their products passed the Senate on Sunday.

“Not only will this legislation provide home cooks with the opportunity to earn additional income, but it will help to preserve traditions and small bits of history in our communities through the sharing of recipes and dishes that may have been passed down for generations,” Koehler said.

Cottage food operations are vendors that prepare products in a kitchen in a primary domestic residence. Senate Bill 2007 permits cottage food operations to sell their products at farmers’ markets, fairs, festivals or public events, as well as online. If signed into law, this legislation would require these producers to submit recipes and food safety plans to local public health departments in order to be permitted to sell their products to the public. It also sets a framework for the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide statewide guidance on how to regulate cottage foods to local health departments.

"We should be doing everything we can to help to create more income opportunities for our residents," Koehler said. "This legislation has the potential to benefit many families in my district and around the state, and I'm very pleased to have it pass."

SB 2007 passed the Senate with 59 votes.

Category: Press Releases

051820210176 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) that would ensure that special education students in Illinois are able to complete their schooling passed out of the Senate on Wednesday.

“Students all across Illinois have faced significant challenges over the last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koehler said. “It is no different for special education students, except that an interrupted school year may mean that they are unable to finish their education under current regulations.”

Current legislation states that students with disabilities may attend public school up to the day before their 22nd birthday. At that point, regardless of when that is in the school year, they are no longer eligible. This legislation would allow students who turned 22 between March 17, 2020 and the end of the 2021-2022 school year who faced 3 or more months of COVID-related interruptions to their education to finish their school year.

“Students of all ages and abilities deserve the same opportunities when it comes to their education,” Koehler said.

House Bill 2748 passed out of the Senate with 56 votes.

Category: Press Releases

04292021CM0452 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) pledged to continue work on his initiative to demand that excessive profits received by Managed Care Organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic be returned to the state.

“As we begin to move into a post-COVID-19 world, we’re seeing that managed care organizations brought in record-breaking profits while many communities across the state struggled to receive basic care and necessary resources during the pandemic,” Koehler said. “If we are able to reallocate excess profits from these companies, we can help hospitals stay open and keep providing lifesaving care in our low-income and rural communities.”

The legislation was filed in response to decreased health care service use during the period where elective surgeries and procedures were postponed. Decreased use resulted in MCOs paying fewer claims and therefore retaining unprecedented amounts of enrollment-based profit, the scope of which was revealed via a Better Government Association investigation. Those wishing to read more about the results of the investigation can visit the BGA’s website.

Koehler was joined in this initiative by State Representative Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates), who introduced identical legislation in the House.

Koehler intends to request continued hearings on SB 455.

Category: Press Releases

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