eatlocalSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has passed legislation out of the Senate that will encourage Illinois residents to buy local by making the first Saturday of each month “Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day.”

Illinois Products Days will fit into the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s larger challenge to get more people to buy Illinois products. According to the department, if each household in Illinois spent $10 on Illinois products each week, the people of Illinois would be reinvesting more than $2.4 billion in the state economy each year.

“When you buy Illinois products, you put money right back into your friends and neighbors’ pockets,” Koehler said. “People talk a lot about outsourcing – think of this as insourcing.”

Several years ago, the General Assembly passed a law creating an Illinois products logo – a special design used to indicate products grown or produced right here in Illinois. Now that it’s easy to identify Illinois products, Koehler wants to encourage people to do more.

“Even if it’s just once a month, try to go to a restaurant that cooks food raised by local farmers,” Koehler said. “Go to a farmers market. Go to a grocery store that labels the food it gets from local producers. There are so many ways to give back to local businesses. Let’s create jobs here in Illinois.”

Koehler’s plan, House Bill 1272, has passed both chambers of the General Assembly and now goes to the governor for his approval.

Category: Press Releases

GMOlabelSPRINGFIELD – Earlier this year, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) introduced legislation that would require companies to label genetically engineered foods. Knowing that both companies that produce food and health advocacy groups had major concerns about the proposal, he chose to avoid calling a vote so that the issue could be more thoroughly discussed during a series of hearings.

"This legislation isn't about passing a value judgment on genetically engineered food," Koehler said. "It's just about giving consumers information so that they can make their own choices."

Hearings will occur this summer at the following times and locations:

Date: June 20, 2013
Location: Illinois State University, Old Main Room at the Bone Student Center
Time: 10 a.m. to noon

Date: August 7, 2013
Location: Southern Illinois University Carbondale (location to be announced)
Time: noon to 2 p.m.

Third meeting:
Mid-September in Chicago (additional details to be announced)

Category: Press Releases

Senator Koehler speaks Saturday at Wildlife Prairie Park after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation giving ownership of the park to a Peoria-area non-for-profit group.SPRINGFIELD –After years of slashed budgets and bureaucratic delays, Illinois is finally putting Wildlife Prairie Park back in local hands.

"It's taken a surprisingly long time to get here," said State Senator Dave Koehler, "but we've finally managed to hand Wildlife Prairie Park over to a Peoria-area non-profit that will make sure it stays open for family-friendly education and entertainment."

The 2,000 acre park, which allows the people of Illinois to see the state's indigenous wildlife in a natural setting, has survived the state's budget cuts largely due to the efforts of Friends of Wildlife Prairie State Park, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the park's mission of promoting conservation, education and recreation. The Friends group assumed legal control of the park today.

Koehler, a Peoria Democrat, has worked with local elected officials from both parties to get the state to turn over the park to the Friends group for the past two years. After making it one of his top priorities this year, Koehler managed to push the law turning over the park all the way to the governor's desk in time for the park's summer season.

"I want to be able to share the park with my grandchildren," Koehler said. "People here in Peoria have demonstrated that they are willing to put in the time, money and hard work we need to keep the park open. With year after year of budget cuts, the state just couldn't make that commitment anymore."

Though the state is transferring ownership of the park to the Friends group, the legal agreement requires the group to keep the park open to the public and to maintain its current mission.

The law requiring the state to relinquish the park takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

WILDLIFEPARKSPRINGFIELD – Years of less-than-adequate state funding have taken their toll on Wildlife Prairie State Park. The 2,000 acre park, which allows the people of Illinois to see the state's indigenous wildlife in a natural setting, has survived the state's budget cuts largely due to the efforts of Friends of Wildlife Prairie State Park, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the park's mission of promoting conservation, education and recreation. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has passed legislation that will permanently transfer ownership of the park to the Friends board.

"We need to keep Wildlife Prairie Park open," Koehler said. "The state just doesn't have the resources to do it anymore, but Friends of Wildlife Prairie State Park can and will."

Despite Koehler's best efforts to get funding for the park reinstated, the state was unable to provide significant financial resources to the park for the past three years.

Though the state is transferring ownership of the park to the Friends group, the legal agreement requires the group to keep the park open to the public and to maintain its current mission.

Koehler's measure now goes to the governor, who has already expressed his support.

Category: Press Releases

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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