State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has been appointed to a special Senate committee that will work to extend and streamline one of Illinois government’s most successful job-creation tools: Enterprise Zones.

Enterprise Zones are specially designated areas where employers—particularly large manufacturers—receive targeted tax relief, fast-tracked reviews of some state and local permit applications, and improved government service.  The state’s Enterprise Zone Program has become a priority because eight Enterprise Zones are set to expire next year, including one Peoria and another in Canton/Fulton County.  Dozens more will expire over the next few years.

“Many of the state’s largest employers, including Caterpillar, have challenged us to improve Illinois’ business climate,” Koehler said.  “Coming up with a comprehensive plan to extend and improve the Enterprise Zone Program will put people to work in our local communities and help attract businesses large and small to invest in Illinois.”

 The bipartisan Special Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions is dedicated to working with the Illinois Manufacturing Association and other stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive plan to revamp the Enterprise Zone Program rather than relying on piece-meal extensions of individual Enterprise Zones.   The committee will hold hearings throughout the state, including one in Peoria.

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Category: Press Releases

After hearing Governor Quinn’s budget proposal, State Senator Dave Koehler said that he thinks the real key to balancing the state budget this year will be bipartisanship.

“Last year, we saw a bipartisan budgeting process in the Illinois House,” Koehler said.  “Democrats and Republicans worked together and made tough choices.  In the Senate, we saw a lot of press conferences, grandstanding, and refusal to compromise.  That can’t happen again this year.  We’re all going to have to work together.”

Koehler believes that the governor’s budget plan can be a starting point for budget negotiations.

“Look, the governor’s plan is always just the starting point for negotiations,” Koehler explained.  “It really is important for us to know his priorities and his ideas, but no governor ever gets exactly what he wants.  Governor Quinn said he’s still waiting to hear back from working groups on Medicaid and pensions, and those are a major part of the state budget.  Still, his budget plan gives us a place to start in important areas like education and human services spending.”

One of the major parts of the governor’s speech was a plan to close 14 major state facilities and dozens of smaller service centers, including a halfway house in Peoria.

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Category: Press Releases

Earlier today, the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution urging Congress to provide more support for local and regional food systems in its forthcoming farm bill.

“My colleagues and I believe that the federal government needs to recognize that helping farmers sell their produce in local markets only strengthens our country,” explained State Senator Dave Koehler, who sponsored the resolution.  “When supermarkets and farmers’ markets sell locally grown fruits and vegetables, it’s a net gain for the local economy and the environment.  When people buy strawberries grown a few miles down the road, most of the money they spend is invested right back into their local community.  When people buy strawberries grown in Spain, their money not only leaves the community, it leaves the country.”

“Illinois has some of the most fertile farm land in the world,” Koehler added.  “Yet, we mostly grow crops to export or feed to livestock.  We have the opportunity to grow so many more fruits and vegetables for the local market.”

The farm bill is a package of federal legislation enacted every five to seven years to set the general direction for America’s farm and food policy.

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Category: Press Releases

Earlier today, the governor signed a new law that will allow police officers who serve on SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) and Tactical Response Teams to possess and use silencers.  These officers are much more likely to fire their weapons than other officers, and they operate in situations where even a few seconds of hearing loss can make the difference between life and death.

“Police officers put their lives on the line to protect us every day, and the members of SWAT teams take some of the biggest risks of all,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the law’s chief Senate sponsor.  “Letting them use silencers will protect them, and make it easier for them to protect us.”

Whenever police officers fire their weapons, they experience a few seconds of hearing loss.  SWAT teams operate in tense, dangerous situations like rescuing hostages.  They need all their senses intact to be able to make split-second decisions.  Repeated exposure to gunfire without hearing protection can also lead to long-term hearing loss.

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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