KoehlerYouth1 350PEORIA — A task force charged with determining best practices for Illinois with regard to youth who are out of school and jobless hosted a youth employment hearing in Peoria in July, and State Senator Dave Koehler helped moderate the discussion.

Three panels of Peoria-area citizens participated in the July 19 hearing. The youth panel included three young adults — Taryne Gardner, Kira Thomas and Dasontray Keys — who shared their experiences and the barriers they overcame when they dropped out of high school, then chose to earn their GEDs. They cited local programs, including the Moonlight Coalition for Adult Learning and Peoria Corps, as instrumental in their success.

A second panel addressed legislative needs for effective programming. Participants included staff from the Peoria Police Department, the Peoria County sheriff, representatives from the Moonlight Coalition, and Rita Ali from Illinois Central College.

KoehlerYouth4 350Finally, a panel of business leaders address legislation that could help meet the needs of employers who have job vacancies and rely on young, working-age people to help fill those positions. Those panelists included Kate Cundiff from the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, Illinois Central College President Sheila Quik-Bailey, Kathy Lehmann from Unity Point Health, and Stephanie Price from HGS.

According to statistics, in 2014 nearly 191,000 Illinois youth and young adults 16 to 24 years old were jobless and out of school. Many of these youth and young adults require opportunities to become successful adults.

The State Task Force on Developing Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults Who are Jobless and Out of School is expected to issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by the end of the year.

Category: Latest

Koehler CSO 350PEORIA — State Senator Dave Koehler joined supporters of the Well Farm at Voris Field in Peoria for a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently.

This innovative urban farm in downtown Peoria produces crops and job-training opportunities, and its trees and plants help to divert stormwater runoff from the city's sewer system. The event took place June 30.

Congratulations to all involved in this great project.

Category: Latest

Families, police can seek to distance potentially dangerous people from their firearms

SadnessPEORIA – A new state law that allows authorities to put temporary distance between potentially volatile people and their firearms contains checks to balance individual rights with public safety, State Senator Dave Koehler said today.

The measure, known as a red-flag or lethal order of protection law, was signed Monday. It enables family members and police to alert a judge if they believe a person with access to a firearm could pose a danger to themselves or to the public. If the judge agrees, the court can require firearms to be temporarily removed from the person’s possession.

It passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

“This law is a preventative measure that balances the gun owner’s right to due process with the public’s right to be safe from violence,” said Koehler, a Peoria Democrat. “Illinois is empowering families to step in before a loved one causes suffering and destruction that can never be undone. It’s also acknowledging gun owners’ concerns by requiring a burden of evidence before firearms can be removed.”

Under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, a family member or law enforcement officer must present clear and convincing evidence that a person poses a significant personal or public danger by having access to a firearm.

If a judge agrees, the court will issue a firearm restraining order that requires the person in question to temporarily relinquish his or her firearms and FOID card to law enforcement. The person also will be barred from purchasing or possessing additional firearms during the restraining period.

Anyone who provides false information in seeking an order would be guilty of perjury.

The legislation is House Bill 2354.

Category: Latest

Ruling sure to have consequences for middle class, Koehler says

SCOTUS Building 350PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler expressed concern with the U.S. Supreme Court decision to erode collective bargaining rights for workers who depend on unions to amplify their voice in the workplace.

“Unions use collective bargains to improve wages, working conditions and benefits for workers across the board. This decision allows some to not have to pay for that representation but still get to enjoy the benefits. That is just plain unfair,” Koehler (D-Peoria) said.

He noted that 2018 marks 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis while there to support sanitation workers in their fight for collective bargaining rights.

“Although Gov. Rauner has no regrets about what he’s done by pursuing an end to fair-share fees, I fear today’s Supreme Court decision will have far-reaching economic consequences for America’s already shrinking middle class,” Koehler said.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Illinois public employee union case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 overturns unions’ ability to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of collective bargaining and enforcement of labor contracts. These fees are known as “fair-share” or “agency fee” payments.

Gov. Bruce Rauner filed suit over fair-share fees in 2015 shortly after becoming governor. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which overturns a 1977 decision, has implications for collective bargaining units all over the country.

Timeline of Janus v. AFSCME

May 23, 1977 — A U.S. Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education legalizes the collection of union fair-share fees from non-members for costs related to negotiating and enforcing labor contracts. Fair-share fees could not be used for lobbying and political expenses by unions.

Feb. 9, 2015 — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, in office less than a month, issues an executive order suspending the deduction of fair-share fees from state employees’ paychecks and sending the money to unions. He also files a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of fair-share fee collection, contending it violates the First Amendment.

Sept. 13, 2016 — A federal judge in Chicago dismisses Rauner’s lawsuit, saying the governor does not have standing in the case. A state worker, Mark Janus, later is allowed to intervene in the case, saying he objects to fair-share fees being deducted from his paycheck to be sent to a union. Janus’ legal representation is provided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty justice Center.

March 21, 2017 — An appellate court affirms the federal judge’s 2016 decision to dismiss the case. Janus appeals the appellate ruling to the Supreme Court.

Sept. 28, 2017 — The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the Janus case.

Feb. 26, 2018 — Oral arguments are presented to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Gov. Rauner is present for the arguments and speaks to the media afterward.

June 27, 2018 — U.S. Supreme Court hands down its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.

Category: Press Releases

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