022322CM0775 rSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus unveiled a $1.8 billion tax relief plan on Friday that State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) acclaims as a win for families in Illinois.

“Fiscal responsibility and conscientious budgeting have allowed us to get Illinois back on track,” Koehler said. “Now that we’ve dealt with the state’s debts and deficits, it’s time to pay it forward and give a helping hand to our hardworking families.”

The new initiative puts money back in pockets by issuing relief checks valued at $100 per person and $50 per child to state taxpayers making $250,000 individually or $500,000 jointly—resulting in 97% of taxpayers receiving money by this fall. Property owners could also see up to $300 in property tax relief under the proposal.

Additional measures to address inflation and ease financial burden on families include a six-month suspension on the 1% state grocery tax and the state’s portion of the gas tax increase. A proposed sales tax holiday on clothing and footwear Aug. 5 to Aug. 14 would also offer relief for families just in time for back-to-school shopping.

“By giving back hard-earned money, we take some of the financial burden off families and keep those funds circulating in local economies,” Koehler said. “This is a win for our communities, and this is a win for Illinois.”

Senate Bill 1150 also looks to increase tax credits for teachers and volunteer first responders. The measure is expected to come to a vote before the planned legislative adjournment on April 8.

Category: Press Releases

032922HAO01048 rPEORIA - State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) offered his congratulations to Peoria native Stephen A. Kouri II on his appointment to the Illinois Human Rights Commission by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“I was pleased to learn of Steve’s appointment to the Illinois Human Rights Commission,” Koehler said. “He has been an asset to our community, and I know he will be an asset to the Commission, especially in bringing a downstate viewpoint to the table.”

Kouri was born with cerebral palsy and was the first person with that level of physical disability to graduate high school from Peoria Public Schools District 150. He went on to earn a law degree and came back to the Peoria area to practice. He is an active member of the community and a well-known advocate for others with disabilities.

“The Peoria area has benefited greatly from Steve’s leadership and dedication, and I look forward to seeing him achieve great things as an advocate for all Illinoisans,” Koehler said.

At the time of his appointment, Kouri is the only member of the commission of seven who is not a resident of Cook County. His appointment was approved in the Senate 49-0.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Dave Koehler (right) and Cesar Chavez (left)SPRINGFIELD – Inspired by the life of the late labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored a measure to make what would have been his 95th birthday César Estrada Chávez Day in Illinois.

“César Chávez was a tireless advocate for farm workers across our country,” Koehler said. “He spent his life advocating for the rights of workers—uplifting those who build and feed our country, making sure they received the dignity they deserved.”

César Chávez was born to immigrant parents on March 31, 1927 in Arizona. When his family lost their farm and became migrant workers, Chávez quit school just after completing eighth grade to work in the fields full time with his family.

Having experienced terrible working conditions and corrupt labor contracts at such a young age, Chávez dedicated his life to preventing others from undergoing the same struggles. In 1962, Chávez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America.

Chávez became known nationwide for his nonviolent protest tactics and his relentless leadership. In September of 1965, he helped to organize the Delano, California grape strike, during which he and other striking workers marched 340 miles from Delano to Sacramento to bring attention to the farm workers’ need for better working conditions.

Along with the UFW, Chávez went on to pass the landmark Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which guaranteed California farm workers the right to organize and bargain with their employers.

“I had the privilege of working for César Chávez and the United Farm Workers for six years when I was a young adult,” Koehler said. “It was an honor then, and it is an honor today to continue his mission of ensuring the dignity of all those who labor.”

On April 23, 1993, Chávez passed away in his sleep, leaving a legacy of dedication to the working class of America. The United Farm Workers of America continues to protect its many members in his absence and works even now to ensure equal pay and fair working conditions for laborers across the country.

Category: Press Releases

033022CM0203 rSPRINGFIELD When Bloomington resident Curt Richardson got his DNA test results back from Ancestry.com, his life – and those of his parents – changed forever when they learned they had been victims of fertility fraud.

Richardson’s story is similar to hundreds of others across the state and nation who have lived most of their lives thinking the very people who raised them were their biological parents. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is working to bring awareness to fertility fraud and provide justice to the families who fall victim to the heinous act.

“Fertility fraud is an issue that we have been silent on for far too long,” Koehler said. “It is my goal to end the silence surrounding the issue and outlaw the practice once and for all.”

Fertility fraud occurs when a health care provider knowingly or intentionally uses their own human reproductive cells during an assisted reproductive treatment without the patient’s informed written consent.

When Richardson received his at-home DNA test results in June of 2021, he knew he couldn’t be silent. A former Peoria resident, he reached out to Koehler for help to ensure that if any other Illinoisans becomes victim of fertility fraud, they would be able to take legal action.

Senate Bill 4199 would create the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, which would allow people to bring action against health care providers, embryologist or any other person who knowingly or intentionally use their own reproductive cells without the patient’s informed written consent.

Under the measure, if a person knowingly or intentionally provides assisted reproductive treatment to a patient by using their own reproductive cells without written consent, that person would be considered to have committed criminal sexual assault.

Illinois would join states like Texas, California and Indiana in outlining penalties for fertility fraud. The Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, the staunchest legislation of its kind currently being considered, is most similar to the legislation passed in Indiana, brought about in 2019 after a woman’s Ancestry.com DNA test revealed she had at least 50 biological half siblings due to a fertility doctor using his own sperm to impregnate his patients throughout the 70s and 80s.

“Today Illinois has taken an important step to become the ninth state to prohibit the deplorable act of fertility fraud,” Richardson said. “This legislation will hold those accountable who have sexually assaulted their patients, violated the medical standard of care and sacred doctor-patient trust, and upended the lives of their patients, their spouses and children.”

Richardson joined Senator Koehler at a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss fertility fraud and how it will be brought to an end in Illinois through the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act. The legislation awaits further deliberation.

Category: Press Releases

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