BILL SEEKS TO LEGALIZE FIREWORKS IN IOWA

Rod Boshart
Published: January 30 2014 | 3:38 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:55 am in

A southern Iowa lawmaker is tired of seeing money leave the state as Iowans cross the southern border to buy legal fireworks in Missouri. Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, has sought to remedy that situation by filing a bill that would make it legal to sell and use novelties and consumer fireworks in Iowa. Under current Iowa law, “snakes” and “sparklers” are the only fireworks that are legal to possess or light. Violation of the law is a simple misdemeanor. Senate File 2064 would legalize a number of explosive fireworks compositions for Iowans aged 18 or older and would provide that the tax proceed generated by fireworks sales would go into a special fund that would be earmarked for local fire departments. The bill also would give the governor, city councils or county boards discretion to suspend the use of fireworks if the devices were deemed to be a threat to public safety. Violation of an order or ordinance would be punishable by a find of at least $250. “I know, at least for my area, I’m down by the Missouri border and we have a lot of people who go across the border to purchase fireworks and obviously anything we can do to keep people home and to spend their money in Iowa I think is a good idea,” said Chelgren, who previously offered by proposal that failed to win legislative approval.

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