LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today honored Rep. Dennis Keene with its prestigious “100 Proof Award” for his successful six-year effort in passing legislation that requires ignition interlocks for drunken drivers.
“Rep. Keene’s patience and perseverance on this key responsibility issue has been phenomenal,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “This new law is a tough tool in the fight against drunk driving and will save lives across the Commonwealth.
“The KDA and its 28 members applaud Rep. Keene on his tireless efforts and personal dedication to this cause. We were proud to have been a strong supporter of this measure in the 2015 General Assembly and are honored to present him with this award.”
Senate Bill 133 requires individuals convicted of repeated drunk driving offenses to install an ignition interlock device to test operators’ breath before allowing the engine to start. It’s the first time such devices are mandatory in the Commonwealth.
Rep. Keene, who chairs the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, nearly lost his daughter Kelly Keene Jones in a drunken driving accident in 2002. She required three surgeries to overcome her injuries and is now an outspoken advocate for tougher DUI laws.
“I’d like to thank the Kentucky Distillers’ Association for this award and commend their leadership in this measure and their continued efforts to promote the responsible and moderate use of their products,” Rep. Keene said.
“As you know, my daughter was nearly killed by a drunk driver. This legislation will save lives and protect more Kentuckians from the dangers of drinking and driving. I deeply appreciate the KDA’s support and look forward to working with them more.”
KDA Directors, Master Distillers and member executives presented Rep. Keene with a commemorative “100 Proof Award” barrel head in a ceremony today at Heaven Hill’s Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville.
Rep. Keene, D-Wilder, is only the fourth person to ever receive the award, which the KDA created in 2009 to recognize elected officials who demonstrate tremendous care, diligence and initiative in promoting and protecting Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.