After a hearing in Peoria last week, an Illinois Senate committee has directed the Department of Public Health (DPH) to write official rules about smoking in outdoor restaurant patios and bar beer gardens.  The hearing was prompted by an incident in which many Peoria-area bars and patrons received smoking tickets for violating the Smoke Free Illinois Act when they thought they were in compliance with the law.  In at least one case, the bar owners had explicitly sought the advice of DPH before they started construction on their beer garden.

“We really need to clarify rules for the police, as well as restaurant and bar owners,” said State Senator Dave Koehler, who has taken a lead role in pushing the issue to the forefront.  “We can’t have Public Health telling bar owners one thing and the police enforcing another.  That’s just not fair for anyone.”

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Category: Press Releases

State Senator Dave Koehler is donating his food and lodging reimbursement for today’s special session of the General Assembly to the Community Foundation Wholesome Food Fund, which helps low-income families purchase healthy food at the Peoria Farmers Market.

“I’m disappointed that the governor chose to put taxpayers on the hook for thousands of dollars of travel reimbursements for today’s session of the General Assembly when he could have easily gone with a lower-cost alternative,” said Koehler. 

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Category: News

State Senator Dave Koehler is announcing that members of the Illinois Senate will hold a hearing in Peoria to establish clear rules for how restaurants and bars can allow their customers to smoke in outdoor areas.

The issue came to Koehler’s attention when he learned a Peoria-area bar and grill was fined for violating the Smoke Free Illinois act, despite the fact that owners of the establishment worked with the Department of Public Health to make sure they were following the rules.

“We can’t have small businesses work with the state to make sure they are obeying the law, spend thousands of dollars, and then get fined anyway,” Koehler said. 

Here are the details of the Senate hearing:

Who: The Senate Labor Subcommittee on Employment Issues

When: August 15, 2012 at 11 AM

Where: American Red Cross, 311 John Gwynn Jr. Avenue, Peoria

The committee will discuss the issue and consider how to create uniform rules to regulate smoking in outdoor restaurant and bar areas, based on initial legislation drafted by Senator Koehler with the help of Peoria State’s Attorney Jerry Brady.

Category: News

After being alerted to the opportunity by Senator Chris Lauzen, State Senator Dave Koehler introduced legislation to help convince Orascom Construction Industries to build a new fertilizer manufacturing plant in Peoria County, which will bring 165 to 200 permanent jobs and 1,000 construction jobs to the area over a two year period. 

Orascom is currently considering sites in both Illinois and Iowa.  To make Illinois more attractive to the company, Koehler is sponsoring legislation that makes Illinois’ incentive package on par with Iowa’s.

“This legislation is sending Orascom, an agricultural fertilizer company, a clear sign that we want them to come to Peoria County,” Koehler said.  “Our state is open for business, and we want to work with companies like Orascom to create good manufacturing jobs here in Illinois.”

The proposed $1.6 billion plant will produce ammonia, urea, and other nitrogen fertilizers to sell to Midwestern farmers.  The presence of the Orascom facility will save Illinois farmers significant money on fertilizer due to lower transportation costs.

Koehler has been working with Peoria County officials, the governor’s office, and legislators from both chambers and both sides of the aisle to reach an agreement that will bring Orascom to Illinois.

“I’m immensely proud of the work everyone has done in a very short timeframe to compete for this economic development opportunity. This would be a historic private investment in Downstate Illinois," said Peoria County Board Chairman Thomas O’Neill III.

Category: News

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Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
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