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

koehler75x75The Federal Emergency Management Agency and its Illinois counterpart have opened Disaster Recovery Centers today in several areas affected by recent flooding.

Services available at the DRCs include help applying for disaster assistance and other relief programs from agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local agencies, and volunteer organizations. To be eligible for federal assistance, residents must apply with FEMA even if they already have given information to other agencies.

For 46th District residents, the Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Fulton County Health Department, 700 E. Oak St., Canton, IL 61520. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

Category: News

Recycle LogoContinuing his long-standing effort to protect and promote the environment, State Senator Dave Koehler has queued up two pieces of green legislation for a Senate vote later this month. One makes it easier to compost on small-scale farms. The other will make it possible for non-profits to run biogas facilities.

The composting plan will allow small farms to accept more biodegradable materials from other locations. Koehler is co-sponsoring a related measure that makes it easier to compost in urban farms and community gardens.

"The classic environmentalist credo is 'reduce, reuse, recycle,'" Koehler said. "Composting is a good example of reducing our reliance on chemical fertilizers by reusing plant and food waste that would otherwise go into landfills. More composting is a good thing."

Composting is highly supported by members of the local food movement because it allows small-scale farms and urban rooftop and community gardens to feed their crops. It also allows organic farmers to fertilize naturally.

Koehler's other effort – allowing non-profit companies to operate biogas facilities – is particularly relevant as biogas facilities open up across Illinois, from downstate Danville to urban Chicago. Biogas is methane created when organic materials – such as plant matter or human or animal waste material - decompose. The gas is then often burned to produce electricity.

"If a non-profit group can raise the funds to start a biogas facility, government regulation shouldn't get in the way," Koehler said. "Together with wind, hydro and solar power, biogas is helping us create clean, non-fossil-fuel energy."

Category: News

koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD –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, and left the important program to an agreement between the governor's office and the federal government.

Senator Dave Koehler, a Peoria Democrat, is moving to change that. His legislation – the first viable plan introduced in the Senate – has passed a key committee and is expected to move forward. It has the support of consumer advocacy groups, hospitals and the insurance industry.

"Illinois needs a health care exchange that will meet the unique needs of our state," Koehler said. "A federal one-size-fits-all model just can't do as good a job of meeting the needs of our people and businesses."

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

  • Illinois will have a state-run health insurance exchange beginning October 1, 2014. 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 airfare.
  • 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, business 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: News

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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