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Fireworks expansion is a dud (veto)

Published (5/25/2012)
By Mike Cook
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Minnesotans wanting to celebrate the Fourth of July with some personal pyrotechnics will have to remain satisfied with sparklers.

Primarily over safety concerns, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill to expand legal fireworks in Minnesota to include bottle rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks classified by the American Pyrotechnics Association as consumer fireworks. “Most Minnesotans are responsible enough to ignite and explode those inherently dangerous devices properly and safely. Unfortunately some are not,” Dayton wrote in his veto message.

“It is government’s foremost responsibility to protect the safety and the well-being of its citizens. Sometimes, that requires laws which protect citizens from others. Sometimes, it requires laws to protect people from themselves. In this case, government has the responsibility to do its utmost to protect vulnerable young Minnesotans, courageous firefighters and police officers, and innocent bystanders of all ages, who could become victims of someone else’s carelessness.”

Dayton further noted the state fire marshal, public safety commissioner and nearly 50 other organizations — including the police and fire chiefs associations —all expressed opposition.

Current Minnesota law allows for the use of party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, glow worms or sparklers, but supporters note that many Minnesotans already cross into neighboring states to spend their money for other types of fireworks and will continue to do so.

To address some local control concerns, the bill would have permitted local governments to enact ordinances restricting the use to ensure they are being safely used and in a limited timeframe. The sale and use of aerial and audible fireworks would have been restricted in Minnesota from June 1 to July 7 of any year.

Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove) and Sen. Michael Jungbauer (R-East Bethel) are the sponsors.

HF1774/ SF1694*/CH243

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