Hauk350HANNA CITY – The state of Illinois is honoring Assistant Fire Chief Brian T. Hauk of the Logan-Trivoli Fire Protection District by dedicating a stretch of Illinois State Route 116 that runs from Hanna City to Elmwood in his memory.

Hauk was a volunteer firefighter for 15 years before becoming assistant fire chief. Tragically, only six months after taking on his new responsibilities in 1997, he gave his life in the line of duty. He was survived by his wife, Tina, and their two young children.

This afternoon, Hauk's friends and family gathered at the Hanna City Fire Department, where the Illinois Department of Transportation unveiled the signs that will mark Route 116. They then traveled to the location of the eastern sign.

"More than a decade after his death, the Hanna City community still remembers Brian Hauk's commitment to protecting their homes and loved ones," said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who passed the legislation authorizing Hauk's memorial. "His family, friends and fellow firefighters still grieve his loss. This memorial will help everyone remember his sacrifice and remind them of the risks that firefighters take for all of us every day."

Hauk was honored at the Illinois Firefighters State Memorial and at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in 1998.

Category: Press Releases

051414 js 0118PEORIA – A new law sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler's will soon make it easier for farmers and other vendors to sell their products at farmers markets throughout the state.

Under Illinois' current system, local health departments set the rules for buying and selling food at farmers markets, which has resulted in a hodge-podge of conflicting regulations. Koehler's new law allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a single set of regulations for the entire state.

"Farmers markets are such an important link between the people who truly grow our food and the consumers," said the Peoria Democrat, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. "Creating a single, statewide standard will make it easier for more farmers to participate in more markets."

For example, state law requires that all raw meat be kept under 41 degrees. However, right now some local health departments require that all meats be sold frozen. Some say that farmers must use mechanical refrigeration units. Others allow coolers and ice packs.

"This change would be very helpful for local growers like me," said Doug Day, owner of Spring Bay Farm in Woodford County. "It would lower our costs, both in time and money."

The law also creates rules for offering samples and requires labels that make it easier for customers to identify where the food they buy was grown or produced.

Illinois has more than 375 farmers markets with more than 1,000 farmers and other vendors. They connect farmers and other producers directly to customers, providing locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, cheeses, meats, nuts, baked goods and more.

Many now accept credit cards and debit cards, and the state has pushed to make the markets more accessible to food stamp users. Farmers markets often offer fresh produce at rates that are competitive with – or even cheaper than – grocery stores.

Category: Press Releases

040914cm0294SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to make it a crime for a police dispatcher to tip off a criminal that law enforcement is nearby passed the Illinois General Assembly.

In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it's not a crime for a 911 dispatcher to let a drug dealer – or other criminal – know that police are in the area. The court called the case "troubling" and the defendant's actions "unjustifiable," but found nothing in Illinois law making such behavior illegal.

"911 dispatchers are an important part of our criminal justice system," Koehler said. "They should be held to the same high standards as law enforcement officers and prosecutors."

In 1998, a police dispatcher tipped off a local drug dealer that law enforcement officials were in the area near his house in the Chicago suburbs. The Cook County State's Attorney charged her with official misconduct. The trial court found her guilty and sentenced her to two years of probation and 250 hours of community service.

However, the 911 dispatcher appealed the verdict. The appellate court ruled that nothing in Illinois law allowed her to be charged with official misconduct. The local police department had every right to fire her, but she hadn't broken any Illinois law. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed.

Koehler's proposal, Senate Bill 2695, would expand the definition the definition of official misconduct to make it a Class 3 felony for a dispatcher – or anyone in a similar position – to warn a criminal that law enforcement is nearby or on the way.

The crime of official misconduct already covers a wide variety of corrupt acts by public employees, including accepting bribes and misusing one's authority for personal gain. The penalty for a Class 3 felony is two to five years in prison.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Michael Unes (R-Pekin) in the House, now goes to the governor for his approval.

Category: Press Releases

Farmers Market resizedState Senator Dave Koehler is sponsoring a plan that will make it easier for farmers and other vendors to sell their products at farmers markets throughout the state.

Under Illinois' current law, local health departments set the rules for buying and selling food at farmers markets, which has resulted in a hodge-podge of conflicting regulations. Koehler's plan would allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a single set of regulations for the entire state.

"Many farmers want to sell their fresh produce in communities all over Illinois," Koehler said. "But current farmers market regulations are confusing. What's legal in one community might be forbidden by another just a few miles down the road. Creating a single statewide set of rules will make it much easier for farmers to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food."

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Category: Press Releases

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

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