Excessive Heat Warnings

Fireworks Legalization Bill Signed into Law

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Governor Terry Branstad signed the fireworks legalization bill, SF 489, into law Tuesday morning.

The bill allows fireworks to be sold all over the state of Iowa.

Under the bill, fireworks companies with permanent buildings would be able to sell fireworks June 1-July 8 and December 10-January 3.

Fireworks companies with temporary buildings or tents would be able to sell fireworks June 13- July 8.

Fireworks cannot be purchased by anyone under the age of 18.

One local business that sprung up out of the bill, Iowa Fireworks Company, said they are hoping the bill will boost the local economy.

In previous years, Iowans had to leave the state to purchase fireworks and the state was losing out on sales tax revenue.

The Iowa Legislative Services Agency says fireworks sales will bring in about $1.1 million in sales tax revenue this year.

LSA said other surrounding states benefited from firework sales in the past; in fiscal year 2014 Missouri reported $36 million in taxable sales, which translates into $1.5 million in sales tax revenue.

“We want everyone to be able to buy local and not go elsewhere. We are partnering with a lot of non-profits. So we are going to have non profits run our tents. We are partnering with Brass Armadillo as well. So the whole point of this is really to help non-profits, boost local economy and just get everybody to come together and get excited about it,” Project Manager Emily Friedricks with Iowa Fireworks Company said.

Iowa Fireworks Company said they want the public’s feedback on what they want to see at the stands and where they want them to be.

“Pending the signature here in Iowa, we are hoping to have all consumer grade fireworks legalized, which there are going to be a lot of ones that imitate professional grade ones at shows, of course they are not loaded as heavy as those. So they are a lot safer than the ones you have to have licenses to shoot. But in Minnesota, they don’t have quite that high of grade of fireworks. They limit a lot of categories. So we are going to have fireworks like you see in Missouri where it’s going to be full consumer grade fireworks,” Iowa Fireworks Company Co-Owner Zach Terhark said.

Many opposing groups, including Iowa Firefighter's Association, Iowa Nurses’ Association and Blank Children's Hospital, said their main concern is the amount of injuries that occur when fireworks are more accessible.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during 2014.

Iowa Fireworks Company said safety is very important to them and they are working with local fire departments to come up with safety tips sheets they will hand out with each purchase, but they understand fireworks are not for everyone.

“Safety is an important part of the sales process. And we actually got together with the Nevada Fire Department and we are working together on some safety tips. So we will share that with consumers as they purchase the fireworks. How to safely set them off, when and where is appropriate to do that. So we are very excited for some of the smaller communities actually being very supportive as we are working together and ideas,” Iowa Fireworks Company Co-Owner Jeremiah Terhark said.

Many cities are working on their own ordinances that would restrict the usage and shoot off times, but not the sales.

For example, the city of Nevada is restricting the shoot off time to 9 a.m.- 10 p.m. during the selling time frame, with extended hours on the actual holidays. The ordinance will also allow them to fine anyone who goes against the rules.