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SPRINGFIELD – To ensure safe participation in the upcoming election, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted to expand voting options for Illinoisans.

“Because we are unsure of what further consequences we could be facing this fall as we continue managing the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, we ought to offer folks more options as they consider how to cast their ballot,” Koehler said. “The promotion of safe, secure elections should not be a partisan issue.”

Under this legislation any person who has voted in the past two years — in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — would receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot in their mailbox. It can then be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or there will be instructions for making the request electronically. Voters will retain the choice to vote in person via early voting or on Election Day, which would be a state holiday for 2020.

“Polling places will still be open for in-person voting, so if you feel safe going to the polls, then you have that right,” Koehler said. “Our goal is to encourage safe participation in the election, and this is a path forward that takes public safety and health into account.”

This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

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PEORIA – To potentially save homeowners money on rising utility bills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is encouraging residents to participate in the Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) Virtual Utility Bill Clinic.

“While we spend more of our time at home with loved ones, the increase in utility costs is inevitable,” Koehler said. “As we continue to manage the consequences of COVID-19, every dollar counts. People need to know there are free programs available that can provide folks with measures to take which could result in lower utility costs. I urge homeowners to participate in a Citizens Utility Board clinic to see what savings may be in store for them.”

To participate, residents should send a copy of their most recent electric, natural gas and telecom bills to CUB at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Attn: Virtual Utility Bill Clinic.” Participants can remove personal information, but their documents should include the account holder’s name.

A CUB specialist will evaluate the bill to determine if you are signed up with an alternative supplier or if you are paying for unnecessary products or services. CUB will also let you know if you are eligible for money-saving programs, like financial assistance, and share information about energy-efficiency programs.

For more information on the program, please visit www.citizensutilityboard.org.

Category: Press Releases

Dear Community Partners:

In recent days, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has received many important questions about participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), such as who should apply, and whether certain organizations meet the PPP’s economic requirements.

First, any IDHS provider whose ability to provide services has been impacted, either in whole or in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic, is strongly encouraged (i) to apply for PPP funding and (ii) if successful in applying, to keep the federal PPP funds provided. If you need additional clarification on this, please reach out to your program division.

IDHS makes this recommendation to maximize funding for State providers and to ensure that limited State funding is stretched as far as possible, particularly in light of increasing economic uncertainty and diminishing State revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted previously, providers cannot seek and receive payments from both the State and the federal PPP program for the same cost (i.e. a provider cannot be paid twice for the same obligation). To do so, could result in criminal, civil, regulatory, and/or audit issues for the provider.

Providers whose ability to perform has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. providers who are able to fully perform and to be paid for that performance) are not encouraged by IDHS to apply, but must make their own, independent determination as to whether they should.

While providers will need to make their own, independent determinations, providers who are unable to perform, either in whole or in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic should meet the PPP program “current economic uncertainty” requirements, making their “loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the applicant.” This letter can be used in support.

As providers know all-too-well, IDHS and its providers are living through significant economic uncertainty. While IDHS is trying to support providers with retention payments, federal support is necessary to ensure the long-term operations for many providers and to maximize IDHS’s and the State’s limited funding.

We do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, but we do know that without ongoing federal support, IDHS retention payments for services not performed will not be sustainable. With reduced State revenues, there is uncertainty as to IDHS’s funding capacity, cash flow, and when IDHS’s service delivery system will be able to return to something close to normal.

So, while IDHS is committed to maintaining retention payments, at a minimum, for FY2020, while the pandemic continues, “current economic uncertainty” supports federal funding for providers whose performance has been impacted, both to support providers and to maximize limited State funds.

IDHS is grateful to every provider making good faith efforts to secure and to retain federal funding. Both directly and indirectly, this helps the provider, IDHS, the State, and the social and human services system everyone is counting on to get Illinois through this unprecedented challenge.

Thank you,
Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS

Category: Latest

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PEORIA – Following the announcement that Spring Lake and Banner Marsh will not be reopened alongside numerous other parks throughout the state, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) joined fellow downstate Democrats in sending a letter to the governor urging him to work with the legislature to reopen area state parks.

“Parks are a vital resource for every part of our state,” Koehler said. “I’m disappointed central Illinoisans won’t be able to utilize two of our area’s finest natural resources.”

If Spring Lake and Banner Marsh were to reopen, they could provide central Illinoisans with an avenue to safely escape the confines of their homes periodically.

“We are all frustrated by this health crisis and the economic devastation that has resulted in our communities,” Koehler said. “The very least we can do is work to provide the people of central Illinois with more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. I look forward to working with the administration to make this happen.”

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

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