033022CM0203 rSPRINGFIELD When Bloomington resident Curt Richardson got his DNA test results back from Ancestry.com, his life – and those of his parents – changed forever when they learned they had been victims of fertility fraud.

Richardson’s story is similar to hundreds of others across the state and nation who have lived most of their lives thinking the very people who raised them were their biological parents. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is working to bring awareness to fertility fraud and provide justice to the families who fall victim to the heinous act.

“Fertility fraud is an issue that we have been silent on for far too long,” Koehler said. “It is my goal to end the silence surrounding the issue and outlaw the practice once and for all.”

Fertility fraud occurs when a health care provider knowingly or intentionally uses their own human reproductive cells during an assisted reproductive treatment without the patient’s informed written consent.

When Richardson received his at-home DNA test results in June of 2021, he knew he couldn’t be silent. A former Peoria resident, he reached out to Koehler for help to ensure that if any other Illinoisans becomes victim of fertility fraud, they would be able to take legal action.

Senate Bill 4199 would create the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, which would allow people to bring action against health care providers, embryologist or any other person who knowingly or intentionally use their own reproductive cells without the patient’s informed written consent.

Under the measure, if a person knowingly or intentionally provides assisted reproductive treatment to a patient by using their own reproductive cells without written consent, that person would be considered to have committed criminal sexual assault.

Illinois would join states like Texas, California and Indiana in outlining penalties for fertility fraud. The Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, the staunchest legislation of its kind currently being considered, is most similar to the legislation passed in Indiana, brought about in 2019 after a woman’s Ancestry.com DNA test revealed she had at least 50 biological half siblings due to a fertility doctor using his own sperm to impregnate his patients throughout the 70s and 80s.

“Today Illinois has taken an important step to become the ninth state to prohibit the deplorable act of fertility fraud,” Richardson said. “This legislation will hold those accountable who have sexually assaulted their patients, violated the medical standard of care and sacred doctor-patient trust, and upended the lives of their patients, their spouses and children.”

Richardson joined Senator Koehler at a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss fertility fraud and how it will be brought to an end in Illinois through the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act. The legislation awaits further deliberation.

Category: Press Releases

032922HAO011481 rSPRINGFIELD – The Senate voted Tuesday to support a measure by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to offer plant-based lunch options to students across Illinois.

“Some students may only be able to depend on one meal a day,” said Koehler. “It’s incredibly important for all students to have access to a well-rounded, nutritious meal during the school day that meets their dietary needs.”

Under House Bill 4089, school districts would be required to provide a plant-based school lunch option that complies with federal nutritional standards to any student who submits a prior request.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and urges schools to develop additional methods to offer the fruits and vegetables to students, and a plant-based lunch option would be one way of doing so.

Plant-based school lunch options would also suffice as Halal options for Muslim students so long as there are no alcohol or alcohol byproducts, such as vanilla extract or other extracts, used in the preparation of the meal.

“Whether a student’s dietary needs are rooted in religious, health-related or other, personal reasons, offering a plant-based meal option would satisfy a variety of requirements,” Koehler said. “Providing a secondary healthy lunch option in our schools is a win all-around.”

Having passed both chambers, the legislation now awaits further action by the governor.

Category: Press Releases

032222cm0719 r1SPRINGFIELD – A measure by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to offer nutritional, plant-based lunch options to students across the state advanced out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.

“Students may require plant-based meal options for religious, health-based or other, personal reasons,” Koehler said. “Our schools should be prepared to offer nutritional options for students with dietary restrictions.”

House Bill 4089 requires school districts to provide a plant-based school lunch option that complies with federal nutritional standards to any student who submits a prior request.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals, and offers a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to grant access to students at least twice a week at times during the school day other than meal periods. The USDA encourages schools to develop innovative and varied methods to offer the fruits and vegetables to students, and a plant-based lunch option would be one way of doing so.

Plant-based school lunch options would also suffice as Halal options for Muslim students so long as there are no alcohol or alcohol byproducts, such as vanilla extract or other extracts, used in the preparation of the meal.

“All students deserve the opportunity to have a well-rounded, nutritional meal at school that meets their dietary needs,” Koehler said. “For some kids it may be the only substantial meal they get that day, and they need to be able to make the most of it.” 

The legislation now awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

031022CM0122 rSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to keep Illinois on track toward a cleaner, more sustainable future, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) advanced a measure out of the Senate incentivizing the purchase of electric motorcycles in Illinois.

“The decision is easy: any step we can take toward sustainability, we should,” Koehler said. “This legislation simply aligns the state’s treatment of all electric modes of transportation. We need to make electric vehicles of all kinds as accessible and affordable as possible to all Illinoisans. This is how we make that happen.”

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, passed in Sept. 2021, offers a rebate to incentivize the purchase of new and used electric vehicles in Illinois. This was done in an effort to encourage a transition to cleaner, more sustainable vehicles statewide. Senate Bill 2940 expands CEJA to make highway-legal electric motorcycles eligible for a $1,500 electric vehicle rebate. ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education), the state’s largest motorcycle advocacy group, played a large role in drafting the legislation.

“ABATE of Illinois is committed to including motorcycles in the future of Illinois Transportation. We would like to thank Senator Koehler for his leadership on Senate Bill 2940 which makes sure motorcycles are treated equally in electric transportation planning and incentives” said Josh Witkowski, State Legislative Coordinator for ABATE of Illinois. “Companies who source parts from right here in Illinois are leading the industry trend to include more electric options with other major manufacturers to follow. This bill is being watched around the U.S., and Senator Koehler is ensuring that Illinois continues to lead in cutting edge technologies.”

The legislation passed out of the Senate Thursday and now advances to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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