FIREWORKS BAN: Bill To End 83 Year Law

A state lawmaker hopes to spark a business boom before the summer holiday.

It`s a law that gets plenty of attention but not much respect.

fireworks ban“In my area, we`re down by the Missouri border, we have a lot of people who go across the border, purchase their fireworks and on Fourth of July, they light them off anyway,” Senator Mark Chelgren says.

He adds it`s time to take our heads out of the sand and reconsider.

“I`ve always been a fan of fireworks, ever since I was a little kid. I don`t understand why we`ve made fireworks in the state of Iowa illegal when a lot of states around us have them legal.”

At least three border states allow the sale of exploding and airborne consumer fireworks.  Three others don`t.  Chelgren says it all points to potential business for Iowa.

“My feeling is, I`d rather keep that economic development here in the state of Iowa.”

Even the state fire marshal admits Iowa`s safety-focused fireworks ban is full of irony.

spenser fire“Injuries occur from consumer or legal fireworks and sparklers – they burn at around 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and they cause more injuries than anything,” interim State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle said.

But sparklers are legal in Iowa.  What`s more, it was a sparkler which started the infamous fire in Spencer, which leveled the town in 1931 and led to the statewide ban.  Chelgren says while his bill would lift that, it would still allow cities to pass their own ordinances.

“I respect that local control, and I so have no problem with cities making that decision, but I don`t think it should be a statewide decision,” Chelgren said.

Under his bill, fireworks would be hit with a special tax that would be given to local fire departments to purchase new equipment.  So far, the fire marshal is a fan.

“Anytime that we can raise money, yes I would have to agree with that!” Quigle said.

The bill has some Republican support in the Senate but will likely see resistance from fire and consumer safety groups.  After all, it`s a law that`s stood for nearly 83 years.


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