koehler75x75After a court order, months of negotiations, a last-minute veto by the governor and other complications, Illinois finally has joined the other 49 states to allow people to carry concealed weapons – provided they meet a series of carefully constructed safeguards meant to protect the public.

"This is a good day for supporters of the Second Amendment," Koehler said. "Despite some last-minute roadblocks put up by the governor's office, I think we ended up with a very reasonable law that will keep concealed weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."

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.

(UPDATE: The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has a list of frequently asked questions at its website.)

The new law, which will go into effect once the State Police have put in place some important rules and procedures, 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

koehler75x75PEORIA –State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement about the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act:

"The Supreme Court's decision to extend federal benefits to all married couples in the United States is heartening. I'm proud that the Illinois Senate has already passed the Marriage Equality Act and hopeful that the House will act soon. We need to extend the thousands of federal benefits provided by marriage to all Illinois couples."

Category: Press Releases

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

eNewsletter

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.
 

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