SPRINGFIELD A new measure created by State Senator Dave Koehler would create the Rural Education Advisory Council.

“This legislation promotes local discussion to address the needs of our schools,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “Giving more local control to the decisions made in and out of the classroom promote a productive environment for our teachers and students.”

The Rural Education Advisory Council would create the opportunity for rural districts to discuss the specific needs and challenges they face within their schools. The council would then give feedback on critical issues facing rural communities and generate improvement ideas to the State Superintendent and the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Every school district is different and therefore has a unique set of needs,” said Koehler.” “We must promote accurate representation to allow all schools to have the same opportunities.”

Senate bill 1787 passed the Senate Education Committee Tuesday. It now heads to the full Senate for further consideration

Category: Press Releases



SPRINGFIELD – A decade ago, young superstardom was rare, left for the television stars and professional singers. However, with the rise of social media influencing, all you need to reach fame now is a cell phone. 

While traditional child actors are protected by the Child Labor Law, there’s nothing on the books for young influencers. Under a measure led by State Senators Dave Koehler and Linda Holmes, that would change.  

“Too often these days, you hear of children being exploited by parents or guardians due to the success they make online,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “A digital footprint a young person did not agree to create should not follow them for the rest of their lives.”

Under Senate Bill 1782, minors under the age of 16 featured in vlogs or other online content would be covered under the Child Labor Law. The measure calls for the child – also known as a “kidfluencer”— to be accurately compensated and would allow them to request deletion of the content upon turning 18.

The idea for the legislation came from Shreya Nallamothu, a 15-year-old University High School student. Shreya brought her proposal to Koehler and Holmes with concerns that money made by child influencers is not protected and that too many young people will fall victim to a parent or guardian taking the assets for their own use.

“When scrolling on social media, I always saw young children and families, called family vlog channels, posting videos online. After finding that users could make money off of platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, I learned that, often, these kids are made to participate in videos without any guarantee of the income generated from the content,” said Shreya. “I wanted to work with Senator Koehler to protect the money that these kids have rightfully earned.”

According to CBS News, kidfluencers with one million followers can earn $10,000 or more per sponsored post. Young children are often featured in social media content without any guarantee of the income they have earned. Because of the age restrictions on online platforms, the content is not created in the child's name, but rather the parent or guardian who runs the account. While traditional child actors in Illinois have the Child Labor Law to safeguard their earnings, there is nothing in place for kidfluencers.

“As legislators, it is our job to be the voice for the voiceless – including the future generation of children,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “In this digital age, parents should not be able to profit off the work or rise to fame because of their children. It’s no different than child television stars having protections.”

Senate Bill 1782 passed the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases



PEORIA – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced that Peoria County, Peoria Park District and Tazewell County are set to receive a total of $770,552 in state funding designed to support communities impacted by plant or mine retirements established under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

“Back in 2021 when CEJA passed, I said that we must be proactive in helping communities that are adversely effected by the transition to a limited emissions energy economy,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “I believe that these communities not only deserve these dollars, but continued funding for years to come.”

The $40 million program was designed to meet the needs of individual localities by addressing the economic and social impacts of plant closures. The funding can be used on a variety of initiatives and investments, including workforce initiatives, housing support, business attraction efforts and more. Recipients were selected by responding to a Notice of Funding Opportunity with a letter of support from the municipality or county where the plant or mine was located.

Grant awards were calculated based on the economic impact of plant or mine closure, specifically, property tax losses and jobs lost due to the plant transition, with a minimum award of $50,000. The funding comes on the back of a recent string of announced plant closures in the Peoria area.

“We’re talking about the loss of jobs that have provided families with a living wage for generations,” said Koehler. “In order to respect the dignity of workers and the hole that these plant closures burdened local governments with, we can’t forget to put people first with continued investment.”

To learn more about the Energy Transition Community Grant Program, click here.

Category: Press Releases

Koehler park


PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler announced Friday that $855,000 for renovations and improvements were secured for the Pleasure Driveway Park District of Peoria.

“Investments in our parks help improve the well-being of our community,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “Improving our local green spaces allows children and families to enjoy the outdoors, and provides more recreational opportunities for residents.”

Nearly $60 million in grants were awarded to 118 park districts across the state through the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants, administered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This is the largest amount of funding since the program began 36 years ago.

The Pleasure Driveway Park District of Peoria will receive $855,000 from these grants. The funding allows the park district to renovate spaces, expand sidewalks, develop new facilities and more.

Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for more information on the OSLAD grants.

Category: Press Releases

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