State Senator Dave Koehler Koehler-tornadobelieves that communities like Pekin, East Peoria, Washington and Gifford shouldn't have to shoulder the entire cost of cleaning up after the deadly tornadoes that tore through central Illinois last fall.

He is proposing a new law that allows the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to reimburse local governments in state disaster areas for the costs of debris removal and emergency protective measures. Though many homes and businesses in the affected communities were damaged or destroyed, the federal government chose not to provide financial assistance, leaving local governments to pick up the entire cost of these services on their own.

"The people who live in these communities relied on their local governments to clean up after these storms and help make their towns habitable again," Koehler said. "Clean-up work is expensive, though, and now the bills are coming due. At the same time, the tornado damage has reduced the tax base in those communities. They're facing serious budget challenges."

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Category: Press Releases

032614 js 0514cs“We have difficult decisions to make this year. Vital programs like K-12 education, financial aid for college students, and important programs for seniors, people with developmental disabilities and others all face major cuts.

“I was glad to see the governor lay out a strategy to address our problems. We’re all going to have to work together to do what’s best for the people of Illinois this year.”

Category: Latest

Ameren Illinois and One Change are joining forces for an energy-efficiency campaign in the greater Peoria area. The campaign is intended to help Ameren customers aware of simple changes they can make to reduce energy usage and save money on their electric bills.

Representatives from One Change will be distributing a box of six compact flourescent lightbulbs to 25,000 homes in the Peoria area and ask a short three-question survey of the resident's energy-efficiency habits.

For more information, see the flyer below.

(pdfclick here to view the .pdf; right-click and select "Save Target As..." to download)

ameren

Category: Latest

ATV VermontSPRINGFIELD – ATV owners would be protected when using their vehicles on private property under a plan that passed the Illinois Senate today.

In 2012, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law to help finance the Department of Natural Resources through a series of new and expanded fees – part of an effort to keep the desperately underfunded agency afloat. However, after hearing from a number of ATV owners who believe the fees for all-terrain vehicles are unfair, Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) began working with DNR to find a solution that ensures the agency gets the funding it needs, while ATV owners get a better deal.

"When ATV owners came to me with this issue, I saw that they had some good, constructive criticism of the ATV fee law," Koehler said. "I wanted to work with them to fix it."

The flawed 2012 law failed to differentiate between golf carts, vehicles used by people with disabilities and ATVs used in state and local parks and preserves. It also charged a flat fee for all ATVs, failing to differentiate between adult ATVs and vehicles used by children.

Koehler's plan (Senate Bill 2633) cuts the current $15 registration fee down to $10 for vehicles with smaller than 75 cc engines (normally used by children). It also provides clear exemptions for golf carts, vehicles for people with disabilities, ATVs used by governments and ATVs used by farmers. It clarifies that ATVs used only on a family's own property are also exempt, as are vehicles used only in ATV competitions.

In addition, DNR has pledged to use much of the money raised by the new fee to develop and maintain ATV trails on state property. This new money allows the agency to qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal matching funds.

"For years, we've been struggling just to keep state parks open and perform basic maintenance," Koehler said. "It's exciting to see the Department of Natural Resources start building ATV trails to provide even more opportunities for Illinois nature lovers."

The legislation now goes to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

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