ST. PAUL (AP) -- Fireworks could be sold in Minnesota around the Fourth of July and New Year's if a bill passed 81-52 by the House Thursday becomes law.
The bill would allow the sale of fireworks from May 1 to July 15 and from Dec. 1 to Jan. 2 each year and only from permanent buildings -- not from tents or trucks. It would limit the use of fireworks to between July 1-7 and Dec. 26-Jan. 2.
People would have to be 18 to buy them, receive information on fireworks safety and sign a release saying that they are responsible for the fireworks they bought. Only certain kinds of fireworks would be allowed, including roman candles, skyrockets, fountains, sparklers and snakes.
The provision, sponsored by Rep. Mark Holsten, was attached to a bill that deals with volunteer firefighters.
Fireworks currently are legal in 41 states. Minnesota banned fireworks in 1941. Over the years, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to change the law.
"Common sense tells you the more fireworks we have in our state, the more injuries there will be," said Rep. Dennis Ozment, a retired fire captain, who opposed the bill.
Holsten said fireworks have become much safer since the state banned them nearly 60 years ago.
"They were big. They were powerful. They were strong and, yes, they did take kids' fingers off," Holsten said. "Today, these fireworks are federally controlled."
An amendment added to the bill would allow cities and towns to further restrict -- but not prohibit -- sale and/or use.
The Senate earlier defeated a similar proposal in committee. A House-Senate conference committee will decide whether the provision should stay in the overall volunteer firefighters bill.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.