State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) was honored to accept the Life Safety Award from the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) on Thursday in recognition of his efforts in the General Assembly this year. Rep. Keicher was specifically nominated for his work to defeat legislation that would have increased the likelihood of tragic fireworks-related injuries and deaths.
Rep. Keicher was nominated by Ms. Margaret Vaughn with the IFSA. In her own words, she shares why Rep. Keicher is a worthy recipient of the Life Safety Award:
The spring 2021 legislative session was quite a battleground for IFSA. There were 6 fireworks bills
introduced that was being pushed by shady out-of-state fireworks companies misleading legislators by
calling themselves the nonexistent “US Fireworks Safety Commission”. The bill which would
misclassify 500 gram pyrotechnic devices, which are on the cusp of being professional grade, as
novelty items and call them “non-fireworks” passed the House Public Safety Committee 5-1 besides
nearly 200 witness slips in opposition and the testimony of a fire chief, who had a young man in his
town lose his hand the previous July. The bill was to be advancing next to the House floor and Rep.
Jeff Keicher contacted both me and IFCA to let us know he is a strong opponent of fireworks
expansion and from his past career in the insurance industry knew first hand the catastrophic injuries
they can cause. Rep Keicher asked me for pictures of severe fireworks injuries he could share with his
fellow legislators to show them the lifelong injuries often that result from a backyard show. Because
of the COVID restrictions it was very difficult to lobby legislators in person at the Statehouse and fire
officials were left with just emailing them and leaving phone messages Plus there were so many new
legislators that were not aware of the history of the issue. We were very fortunate to have Rep. Keicher
educating legislators at the Statehouse on how bad the bill was and was prepared to speak against it
during the floor debate. Fortunately the at the 11th hour the bill did not get called for a vote in time for
passage. On July 4th a man in his 30s in Rep. Keicher’s district in Boone County was killed as the
result of injuries sustained by lighting fireworks. Rep. Keicher is committed to continuing the ongoing
Statehouse battle to prevent such deaths and injuries by not expanding the sale of pyrotechnic and
keeping them to the professionals.