koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is refusing his food and lodging reimbursement for Wednesday's special session of the General Assembly.

Koehler has a long history of refusing to take extra compensation at a time when the state is struggling to pay its bills. He has voted to cut his own pay by nearly five percent for the past four years and donated his food and lodging compensation to charity when former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Gov. Pat Quinn called special sessions.

"This special session is ultimately about the state budget," Koehler said. "Legislators need to lead by example and show that we are willing to make the same sacrifices that so many families across Illinois have already made to cope with the tough economy."

Category: News

koehler0619SPRINGFIELD – The first of a series of hearings on State Senator Dave Koehler's (D-Peoria) proposal to label genetically engineered food is scheduled for Thursday in Bloomington-Normal.

The hearing is open to the public. Anyone who wishes to submit testimony should file a witness slip online at my.ilga.gov or in person the day of the hearing. Due to time constraints, Koehler is limiting spoken testimony to two panels – one of supporters of the legislation and the other of opponents. Each panel will consist of four people and have up to one hour to present its position. Everyone else who wishes to testify is asked to submit comments in writing.

Date: June 20, 2013
Time: 10 a.m. to noon
Location: Old Main Room, Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, 100 N. University St., Normal
For more information: Sen. Koehler's district office (309) 677-0120 or Springfield office (217) 782-8250

Additional hearings are planned for Carbondale in August and Chicago in September.

Category: News

koehler75x75Last week, State Senator Dave Koehler voted in support of legislation to authorize people to carry concealed firearms in Illinois.

The issue moved to the forefront this year after a federal court ruled that Illinois' status as the only state in the union without a concealed carry statute is unconstitutional. Had the legislature not acted, unrestricted concealed carry would have become law. However, home rule municipalities (like Peoria) would have been able to set their own rules governing concealed carry, potentially creating a difficult-to-navigate patchwork of rules that would not have kept the public safety or served the needs of supporters of the Second Amendment who want to take advantage of concealed carry.

After months of negotiations, the General Assembly arrived at a compromise that did not leave any party completely satisfied.

"We had to do something about concealed carry," Koehler said. "This compromise is much better than the 'constitutional carry' alternative."

The legislation establishes the following:

  • The state police shall issue concealed carry licenses to applicants who meet all of the requirements of the law.
  • To qualify, an applicant must:
    • have a FOID card
    • be at least 21 years old
    • not have a conviction for a violent misdemeanor in the past five years
    • not have two or more DUI convictions in the past five years
    • not have a warrant out for his or her arrest or be subject to any prosecution that could disqualify him or her from obtaining a FOID card
    • not have been in residential or court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment within the past five years
  • Applicants must pass a 16 hour training course and pay a $150 fee.
  • If an applicant meets all the criteria for a license, law enforcement may object to an application if they believe that the applicant presents a danger to himself or herself or others. These objections will be reviewed by a seven-member board appointed by the governor.
  • All applications must be approved or denied within 90 days.
  • Licenses will be valid for five years. License holders must take an additional three hours of training and pay a renewal fee to renew their licenses.
  • Concealed weapons cannot be carried in the following locations:
    • schools
    • preschools and child care facilities
    • government buildings
    • courts
    • correctional facilities
    • medical facilities
    • public transportation
    • bars
    • public gatherings (though licensees may pass through to reach their home, workplace or vehicle)
    • special events at which alcohol is served
    • playgrounds
    • parks
    • colleges and universities
    • gambling facilities, including casinos and horse tracks
    • stadiums
    • libraries
    • airports
    • amusement parks
    • museums, zoos and aquariums
    • places prohibited by federal law
    • private property where the owner has posted a sign indicating that firearms are prohibited
    • Concealed weapons can be stored in locked containers in locked vehicles in the parking lots of prohibited locations.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.
Category: Press Releases

koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to create state-run health insurance exchanges has passed the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House for further consideration.

One of the most important pieces of the federal Affordable Care Act is health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are the marketplaces where private individuals and small businesses can go to purchase their health insurance. Illinois has so far failed to create an exchange, leaving the important program to an agreement between the governor's office and the federal government.

"A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work well when it comes to something as important as health care," Koehler said. "We need a plan that can meet the unique geographic and demographic needs of Illinois."

Koehler's plan, House Bill 3227, establishes the following:

  • Illinois will have a state-run health insurance exchange beginning January 1, 2015. It will be an online marketplace that will allow consumers to compare insurance prices, in much the same way that websites like Orbitz and Travelocity allow people to compare airfares.
  • The Department of Insurance will review and recommend the health insurance plans that will be available on the exchange. All plans must meet state and federal insurance guidelines.
  • An 11-member Exchange Board, appointed by the governor, will certify all plans approved by the Department of Insurance.
  • Health insurance plans and dental plans must be available to individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in 2014. In 2016, businesses that have up to 100 employees will also qualify.
  • The health insurance exchange will be paid for by Illinois health insurance companies, not taxpayer dollars or a fee on consumers.
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