PEORIA – To give residents who are struggling the chance to receive assistance with utility bills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is highlighting the expansion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) included in the state budget.

“LIHEAP is just one of the many vital services our residents are relying on to get them through this difficult moment,” Koehler said. “If people are just barely unqualified for this program, that does not mean they aren’t struggling and couldn’t use the financial assistance. The expansion of this program will allow more people to take advantage of the opportunity for lower utility bills.”

The LIHEAP expansion would increase the qualifying threshold from 150% of the federal poverty level to 200% of the federal poverty level, allowing more people to take advantage of available aid from the state. Additionally, the amount of credit issued to those who qualify would increase to:

  • $2,400 ($200 per month) annually if applicants are above the federal poverty level
  • $3,000 ($250 per month) annually if applicants are under the federal poverty level

For a single person to meet the federal poverty level an income of $12,760 per year is required, and for a family of four, $26,200 per year.

“This is the sort of moment when government is supposed to step up and offer a helping hand wherever possible,” Koehler said. “Forcing people to choose between paying their utility bill and affording groceries for the month is unacceptable. By giving more people access to financial assistance programs such as LIHEAP, Illinoisans won’t be forced to make that choice.”

The state budget proposal now awaits Governor Pritzker’s approval.

Category: Press Releases

koehler flr 052320

SPRINGFIELD – Following the Senate’s approval of the proposed state budget for the upcoming year, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) offered the following statement:

“The way forward will not be an easy one, and that much has been clear from the start. This is a budget that keeps our state afloat and meets the reality of the moment we find ourselves in.

“As we continue to assess the total damage COVID-19 has had on our state, we must prioritize the revitalization of our local economies. This starts with providing assistance for small businesses as they continue to grapple with lost revenue and giving a boost to the local governments who managed our regional health departments, and provided financial, housing and meal assistance to our residents. I’m thrilled we were able to give these folks some of the help they will need going forward.”

The proposal now awaits the governor’s approval. 

Category: Press Releases

koehler chair 052220

SPRINGFIELD – To provide sorely needed flexibility and relief as businesses and counties begin to reopen, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored legislation that would give property owners the means to continue meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19.

"I led the Senate’s economic revitalization working group with one goal in mind. We had to provide people with real, tangible solutions to the enormous challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Koehler said. “Implementing property tax relief measures and extending payment deadlines is where we have to start as we begin to work toward the recovery of our local economies.”

Under this legislation, local businesses and residents would see property tax relief in the form of:

  • Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019.
  • Allowing counties with less than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020.
  • Deferred property tax sales for counties with less than 3 million residents.

This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

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

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