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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler is leading a measure to bring awareness of the history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois through the creation of a task force.

“This task force will highlight the rich history the Underground Railroad has in Illinois,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “The Underground Railroad is a symbol of determination in search of freedom and justice for African Americans throughout the 1800s.”

Senate Bill 1623 would establish the Underground Railroad Task Force. The group would 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.

This bill was initiated by Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman. This bipartisan effort will focus on identifying where historical sites are located, connections they may have to one another, and will illustrate the history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois.

“This task force will provide new opportunities to teach our children how slavery impacted our state, and how leaders throughout Illinois took charge to help slaves find freedom,” said Koehler. “These opportunities give our schools the ability to teach students the severity and consequences slavery had on our state and nation.”

Senate Bill 1623 passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday. It now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.


Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Survivors of sexual assault often do not seek medical treatment because of fear law enforcement will immediately be notified, causing potential harm or retaliation from their abuser. State Senator Dave Koehler is leading a measure to make survivors feel more comfortable receiving care by allowing them to choose to delay reporting.

“Survivors of sexual assault should feel comfortable seeking the care they need,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “By allowing survivors the ability to see a doctor without immediately reporting the assault, we will make them feel safer – leading to more people receiving the medical attention they need.”

Senate Bill 333 would allow survivors of sexual assault to give or refuse consent to notify the police immediately. If they refuse, the police will be notified once the treatment has ended. The measure would also allow the patient to protect his or her identity in the police report.

“Sexual assault survivors already feel a great deal of betrayal and violation – the last thing they need is for those feelings to be exacerbated when they receive treatment,” said Koehler. “We must ensure survivors feel the comfort and safety they need.”

The measure passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.


Category: Press Releases

Sen. Dave Koehler's budget reaction

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement after hearing the governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024:

“The proposed budget expands MAP grant availability for our universities across Illinois making college more accessible and affordable for our students. If we want the next generation to be able to compete, these investments in higher education go a long way, especially for our students who wish to attend college in Illinois.

 “I agree with the governor’s commitment to rebuilding roads, highways and much needed infrastructure improvements across Illinois. These projects not only make our roads safer, but create thousands of jobs across the state.

“Investment in workforce development across Illinois ensures our workers have the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the innovative manufacturers that continue to make the 46th District their home. Manufacturers like Rivian Automotive bring new and exciting products in Illinois while promoting new job opportunities in our communities. I was pleased to see that this budget proposal prioritizes training and educating our workers for careers that sustain families and grow our economy. These training programs will continue to expand our workforce for years to come.”

Category: Press Releases

RebuildPeoria1PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler joined local leaders along with the Illinois Department of Transportation Tuesday to announce $24.6 million in improvements to Peoria’s Bob Michel Bridge through the Rebuild Illinois project.

The project includes installing new concrete and bridge joints to extend the life of the deck. The improvements will expand walkways and convert the five foot sidewalks into a 14 – foot path that is accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists in the community.

“These improvements to our bridge is vital for workers and residents throughout our community,” said Koehler (D – Peoria). “Residents of the greater Peoria area deserve safe transportation and high quality roads. These repairs provide opportunities for new jobs, economic development, and a brighter future for our community.”

Koehler supported the Rebuild Illinois project in 2019, a bipartisan effort to invest $44.8 billion over six years into the state’s infrastructure, with over $33.2 billion being allocated to transportation – including the funds for the Bob Michel Bridge construction.

The bridge carries over 17,000 vehicles a day across the Illinois River, connecting Peoria and East Peoria. The bridge will be closed for eight months, with traffic being rerouted to interstate 74. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the bridge.

The project is scheduled to finish in November.

Category: Press Releases

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