sign 5503310 1280 rPEORIA – Thanks to advocacy by State Senator Dave Koehler and the General Assembly, more than $1.5 million has been awarded to local small businesses through the Back to Business program.

“The health of our small businesses is crucial to strong local economies,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “As our businesses look to rebuild following the challenges of the last two years, this funding has been well-deserved and incredibly helpful.”

The $1,730,000 was awarded to 94 local businesses. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

“Small businesses supported and served our communities through the pandemic,” said Koehler. “I’m proud to advocate for them and ensure they now get the support they deserve.”

Thanks to years of fiscally responsible decisions and a surplus in the budget, the state saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Additional resources can be found on DCEO’ website and through DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800-252-2923 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Category: Press Releases

co responder signing r rPEORIA – A new law backed by State Senator Dave Koehler to establish the Co-Responder Pilot Program in an effort to offer crisis management and emotional support to survivors of crime was signed Tuesday afternoon.

“Addressing crime and violence in our communities requires a dynamic approach,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “This program takes a fresh look at ways to provide support to survivors to ensure no one falls through the cracks or goes without assistance.”

The new law, formerly House Bill 4736, requires police departments in Peoria, East St. Louis, Springfield and Waukegan to establish a co-responder unit of social workers responsible for conducting follow-up visits for victims who may benefit from mental or behavioral health services, connecting survivors with appropriate resources, and providing other necessary assistance. Mental health professionals additionally have the potential to both deescalate situations as they occur and reduce recurrent calls for assistance by helping to identify and address the root causes of many overarching issues.

The legislation also includes the creation of a Crime Reduction Task Force to develop and propose policies and procedures to reduce crime in Illinois, an expansion of the Gang Crime Witness Protection Act to create the Violent Crime Witness Protection Fund, and guidance for instruction on victim-centered and trauma-informed investigation training for homicide investigators.

“In the aftermath of a crime, especially violent, traumatic crimes, survivors may not know where to turn for support,” said Koehler. “By implementing the Co-Responder Pilot Program, we make necessary resources accessible to survivors in need.”

The Co-Responder Pilot Program and other provisions of the legislation are effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

EOS Quote Koehler LargeText

SPRINGFIELD – In response to the Senate’s approval of a budget and tax relief plan that prioritize working families and put money back into communities, State Senator Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

“Over the last two years Illinoisans across the state have displayed grit and resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges, and I am proud to support a budget that offers recovery measures for our state and the people in it.

“Not only does this budget pay off many of our debts and allocate ample funds to all of our biggest priorities, our state pensions and the Rainy Day fund, but it also puts hard-earned money back in the pockets of people across Illinois.

“This budget ensures future economic security for working people across our state.”

Category: Press Releases

033122HAO00232 rSPRINGFIELD – On Thursday, the Illinois Senate advanced a measure backed by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to establish the Co-Responder Pilot Program in an effort to offer crisis management and emotional support to victims of crime.

“As we work to prevent crime and address its root causes, we need to make sure we’re also minimizing harm and trauma in situations where crime has already occurred,” Koehler said. “The Co-Responder program offers a helping hand to survivors when it comes to locating and accessing important resources in the days and weeks following an incident.”

Under House Bill 4736, police departments in Peoria, East St. Louis, Springfield and Waukegan would be required to establish a co-responder unit of social workers responsible for conducting follow-up visits for victims who may benefit from mental or behavioral health services, connecting survivors with appropriate services, and providing other necessary assistance.

The Co-Responder Pilot Program is just one of several provisions included in the legislation, such as the creation of a Crime Reduction Task Force to develop and propose policies and procedures to reduce crime in Illinois, an expansion of the Gang Crime Witness Protection Act to create the Violent Crime Witness Protection Fund, and guidance for instruction on victim-centered and trauma-informed investigation for homicide investigator training.

“Undergoing trauma caused by a crime, especially crimes of a violent nature, can be a very isolating experience,” Koehler said. “Friends, family, or neighbors may not know how to best help and support survivors. By bringing in a team of licensed professionals who are trained for this very thing, we offer survivors the best chance to grow and heal in the aftermath of a crime.”

The legislation now awaits further action.

Category: Press Releases

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