SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler passed a measure to create awareness of the history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois.

“Illinois played a significant role towards the path of freedom that has usually gone unnoticed,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “This task force will bring to light the efforts Illinoisans went through to help slaves on their journey, and map the route across the state.”

Senate Bill 1623 creates the Underground Railroad Task Force. The group will develop a statewide plan to connect existing local projects and new projects to create a cohesive statewide history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois, while developing new educational and tourism opportunities.

The task force will identify where historical sites are located, connections they may have to one another, and will paint a picture to recognize the history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois. It will also introduce educational and tourism opportunities throughout the state.

“This task force will give students and residents a view of the rich history that exists throughout our communities,” said Koehler. “Educational opportunities like these will give residents and non-residents a new perspective on slavery and its impact toward our nation.”

This bipartisan bill was initiated by Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman in the hopes of bringing awareness to this important part of our state’s history.

“Currently, there are many regional landmarks of the Underground Railroad throughout the state, but there is really no way of connecting them together," said Ackerman. “This task force give us the ability to tie all of these regional pockets together to tell the story of just how long the path the Underground Rail Road was in Illinois, and the lengths that abolitionists and slaves took in search of freedom.”

Senate Bill 1623 was signed into law on Friday.

Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) released the following statement after the governor signed the Fiscal Year 2024 budget into law:

“The investments this budget makes into education, workforce development and our local economy is a testament to how far we have come to get Illinois back on track.

“Not only is the state being fiscally responsible by paying down debt and allowing businesses to plan for the future – Illinois is making an investment in the next generation by providing increased funding to our schools, community colleges, four-year universities and programs that will improve workforce development, job development and job creation.”

Category: Press Releases



SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler supported the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which prioritizes early childhood and higher education, as well as infrastructure and workforce development.

“This budget is a win for our universities and community colleges,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “By providing the largest higher education funding increase in two decades, we are ensuring our students can afford to go to college and pursue their dreams.”

The budget will invest in a new program – SMART Start Illinois – a multi-year program to prepare children to be lifelong learners. This program includes funding for the Illinois State Board of Education Early Childhood Block Grant. The budget increases Monetary Award Program funding, as well as the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program.

Additionally, the budget includes funding for business attraction and development, and workforce training. The budget lists investments toward downtowns that are in need of rehabilitation, and for the Fast-Track Workforce program to provide employee screening, recruitment and job training development to employers.

“Our increased funding in workforce programs, job creation and business development gives Illinoisans greater avenues to find fulfilling, high-paying jobs,” said Koehler. “By continuing our commitment toward our state’s workforce, we are creating new opportunities that will keep our best and brightest in Illinois.”

The FY 24 budget passed the Senate Thursday.

Category: Press Releases



SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler passed an initiative to prohibit price gouging of essential medication.

“Medication should be affordable for all Illinoisans,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “This legislation addresses the schemes companies will go through to churn a profit off of someone’s health.”

House Bill 3957 creates the Illinois Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act, which would prohibit manufacturers and distributors from engaging in price gouging of essential off-patent and generic drugs.

“It’s time we hold these companies accountable for what should be considered robbery,” said Koehler. “We should not be allowing these companies to skyrocket their prices to the point people are unable to afford medication they desperately need.”

House Bill 3957 passed the Senate Wednesday.

Category: Press Releases

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