Ohioans a Step Away Again from Legal Fireworks

Fireworks in the night sky
by J.D. Davidson


The Ohio General Assembly lit the fuse for legal fireworks for a second time this year after Gov. Mike DeWine extinguished the first attempt with a veto.

The House and Senate passed House Bill 172, allowing for Ohioans to shoot consumer-grade fireworks at certain times of the year. DeWine vetoed a similar bill in July, saying it would make the state one of the least-restrictive fireworks states in the country.

The bill, which passed the Senate, 26-5, and the House, 72-23, on Wednesday, now heads to DeWine, who said in July it was in the public interest to veto legislation that would have legally allowed the discharge of fireworks on 25 holidays during the year.

The new bill reduces the number of holidays to nine. Local governments also are allowed to restrict the hours citizens could discharge fireworks or completely ban the use.

“We’ve been down this road before. I think this bill was really frustrating to me just to get vetoed by the governor,” Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, said on the Senate floor. “What we are looking at right here is three branches of government that worked together. There are a lot of things the governor wanted in this bill that we really took heart.”

DeWine objected to the increase of showroom size the previous bill allowed, along with other safety measurers not included. The new bill reduces the showroom size from 10,000 square feet to 7,500 and requires stores to have extra and industrial strength sprinkler systems.

If signed into law, Ohioans could begin the purchase of fireworks without having to take them out of state July 1, 2022. Fireworks would be legal on New Year’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4, 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend; and Diwali.

A 4% tax on the sale of fireworks would be added, helping fund safety efforts and fire departments.

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square


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