032222cm0719 r1SPRINGFIELD – A measure by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) to offer nutritional, plant-based lunch options to students across the state advanced out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.

“Students may require plant-based meal options for religious, health-based or other, personal reasons,” Koehler said. “Our schools should be prepared to offer nutritional options for students with dietary restrictions.”

House Bill 4089 requires school districts to provide a plant-based school lunch option that complies with federal nutritional standards to any student who submits a prior request.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals, and offers a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to grant access to students at least twice a week at times during the school day other than meal periods. The USDA encourages schools to develop innovative and varied methods to offer the fruits and vegetables to students, and a plant-based lunch option would be one way of doing so.

Plant-based school lunch options would also suffice as Halal options for Muslim students so long as there are no alcohol or alcohol byproducts, such as vanilla extract or other extracts, used in the preparation of the meal.

“All students deserve the opportunity to have a well-rounded, nutritional meal at school that meets their dietary needs,” Koehler said. “For some kids it may be the only substantial meal they get that day, and they need to be able to make the most of it.” 

The legislation now awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

031022CM0122 rSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to keep Illinois on track toward a cleaner, more sustainable future, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) advanced a measure out of the Senate incentivizing the purchase of electric motorcycles in Illinois.

“The decision is easy: any step we can take toward sustainability, we should,” Koehler said. “This legislation simply aligns the state’s treatment of all electric modes of transportation. We need to make electric vehicles of all kinds as accessible and affordable as possible to all Illinoisans. This is how we make that happen.”

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, passed in Sept. 2021, offers a rebate to incentivize the purchase of new and used electric vehicles in Illinois. This was done in an effort to encourage a transition to cleaner, more sustainable vehicles statewide. Senate Bill 2940 expands CEJA to make highway-legal electric motorcycles eligible for a $1,500 electric vehicle rebate. ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education), the state’s largest motorcycle advocacy group, played a large role in drafting the legislation.

“ABATE of Illinois is committed to including motorcycles in the future of Illinois Transportation. We would like to thank Senator Koehler for his leadership on Senate Bill 2940 which makes sure motorcycles are treated equally in electric transportation planning and incentives” said Josh Witkowski, State Legislative Coordinator for ABATE of Illinois. “Companies who source parts from right here in Illinois are leading the industry trend to include more electric options with other major manufacturers to follow. This bill is being watched around the U.S., and Senator Koehler is ensuring that Illinois continues to lead in cutting edge technologies.”

The legislation passed out of the Senate Thursday and now advances to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

022522CM11691 rSPRINGFIELD – Illinois will take large strides toward energy sustainability thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) that advanced out of the Senate on Thursday.

“Even our most efficient and sustainable renewable energy sources require technology that can’t be reused,” Koehler said. “We have a responsibility to make our sustainable energy truly sustainable, and that includes the safe and conscientious disposal of old and used materials.”

The United States is expected to see as much as one million total tons of solar panel waste by 2030, and the United States is expected to have the second largest number of retired solar panels in the world by 2050, with as many as an estimated 10 million total tons of panels. States such as California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington have already implemented strategies to address this excess waste.

Under Senate Bill 3790, Illinois would join these states through the establishment of a Renewable Energy Component Recycling Task Force. The task force would be responsible for investigating options for recycling and other end of life methods for renewable generation components and energy storage devices, and would be required to report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1, 2023.

“By expanding opportunities to recycle and reuse raw materials from our solar panels, we will save dollars and further protect our environment,” Koehler said. “We have to take every step we can toward a healthier environment and more sustainable future.”

Senate Bill 3790 will now undergo further consideration in the House.

Category: Press Releases

03252021CM0091 r1SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), students with disabilities in Illinois and their families will be more fully informed of the resources available to them.

“Illinois provides a multitude of resources to students with disabilities,” Koehler said. “By ensuring residents are informed of available financial services, we can prevent additional burdens for individuals with disabilities and their families.”

Under Senate Bill 3474, school districts are required to provide informational material to the parent or guardian of students with disabilities about the Achieving a Better Life Experience account program.

The ABLE program aims to encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds to support individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence and quality of life, and to provide secure funding for disability-related expenses to supplement insurance benefits and income.

“Students with disabilities overcome great challenges every day,” Koehler said. “By making sure these students and their families know about the resources available to them, we offer them an opportunity to get the most out of their education.”

Senate Bill 3474 passed out of the Senate on Wednesday and will now be considered in the House.

Category: Press Releases

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