The measure, which the League opposes, would expand the definition of legal fireworks in Minnesota to include aerial and audible devices.
The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee will hear a bill on Feb. 19 that would expand the definition of legal fireworks in Minnesota to include aerial and audible devices. The bill, SF 1621 authored by Sen. Jason Rarick (R-Brook Park) would also dedicate the sales tax on aerial and audible fireworks as follows: 25 percent to the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Account; 25 percent to the Fire Safety Account; and (3) the remainder to the general fund.
League opposes the bill
The League has long opposed fireworks expansion legislation and has raised the following objections:
- The League is opposed to any expansion of the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Minnesota because the products are dangerous.
- Fireworks that would be allowed under this bill will impact neighborhoods and communities. Aerial fireworks travel away from the property of the person who lights them and onto other properties. Likewise, noise travels.
- The increased use of fireworks will create conflicts between neighbors over noise, debris, and property damage. Cities will be left trying to help people resolve these disputes and will have more difficulty if the offending fireworks are legal.
Other provisions in the bill
Other provisions in the bill include the following:
- Maintains the requirements in current law that “legal fireworks” may not be used on public property, or purchased by people younger than 18 years of age, and that people selling legal items verify the purchaser’s age by photographic identification.
- Retains the cap on the annual license fee that local units of government may charge to retail sellers of novelties and aerial and audible devices at $350. (The maximum fee for retailers of sparkling devices is $100.) Authorizes local governments to charge a separate $100 fee for each additional retail location a licensee operates.
- Prohibits local units of government from imposing other fees on the retail or wholesale sale of novelties and aerial and audible devices.
- Preempts local regulation of sparkling devices and novelties.
- Provides that counties have the same authority as statutory cities to regulate the use of aerial and audible devices, display fireworks, sparkling devices, and novelties.
If you are a city official who would be willing to testify on this bill on behalf of the League, please contact Anne Finn at (651) 281-1263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.