Ohio closer to making major change in fireworks law

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Ohio closer to making major change in fireworks law

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A bill to legalize the sale, possession and use of firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and other consumer grade fireworks cleared a hurdle in the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday.

Lawmakers on the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee voted 11-1 in favor of House Bill 226 on Wednesday. State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, its sponsor, said he is uncertain when the bill might get a full House vote.

The bill extends the current moratorium on new fireworks sale licenses until July 2020 and establishes a 17-member study committee to make recommendations by July 2019 on the legalities of consumer fireworks. If the General Assembly doesn’t act on those recommendations, Ohioans would be allowed to buy and blow off fireworks on their own property or on land where the owner gave permission.

State law will not restrict when or where fireworks can be used.

“House Bill 226, if passed, legalizes the discharge of consumer grade fireworks including bottle rockets, firecrackers and missiles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with only minimal safety restrictions in place,” according to the Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition, which opposes the bill.

“We are expressly leaving it up to each local jurisdiction to impose restrictions on the discharge of fireworks, including time of day, time of year, hours of operation. All of that will be left up to your local city, village or township to come up with restrictions that they feel are appropriate for their community,” Seitz said.

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