Bill legalizing Ohio sales of consumer-grade fireworks passes House committee

(WKRN)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Setting off fireworks in Ohio could be legal by 2020 if changes to the current law go into effect.

On Wednesday morning, lawmakers voted 11-1 to pass House Bill 226 out of committee.

The bill would allow retail sales of consumer-grade fireworks beginning in 2020. It would also convene a study group that would make recommendations for changes to the law and imposes a fee on retail sales.

Representative Martin J. Sweeney (D-Cleveland) said the current bill does not work.

“You can buy them, you can sell them, you can transport them, and you have to sign this piece of paper that you have to get them out in 48 hours. It’s not complied with at all,” Sweeney said.

The one representative who voted against the bill, Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), said she can’t support it unless there are changes made to the bill.

“There are a lot of dangers to fireworks and I don’t feel that they’re adequately addressed by this legislation,” Clyde said.

Clyde cited concerns with the lack of time and day restrictions in the bill, as well as concerns about the bill not prohibiting minors from setting off fireworks.

“I would be willing to consider legislation that had an adequate safety provision for making sure kids don’t have access to set off fireworks,” Clyde said.

Sweeney said the bill allows each municipality to make its own restrictions.

“Each municipality can say, ‘I want it two days before and after the Fourth of July. We want an outright ban, but we want to have some flexibilities cause that’s what our citizens want,’” Sweeney said.

The bill will now head to the House floor for a vote.