Republican Senator Mark Chelgren, of Ottumwa, has introduced legislation he says would help Iowa fire departments and end the state’s ban on fireworks.
A few fireworks, including sparklers, are legal to buy and possess in Iowa.
Chelgren sees that as ironic, since a 1931 fire – started by a dropped sparkler – is at the center of the fireworks ban. About 200 stores and businesses were destroyed by that fire in Spencer, Iowa.
Chelgren introduced SF 2064 Monday, February 3, 2014. The legislation would leave it up to county boards to control the sale, possession and use of fireworks in each county in Iowa, and it allows those boards or the governor to issue temporary bans on the use of fireworks when conditions are deemed unsafe.
Violators could face a fine of at least $250.
The law also restricts the sale and purchase of fireworks to people 18 years of age and older.
Chelgren’s proposal calls for sales tax collected from fireworks sales to go be used to maintain and purchase fire trucks and equipment.
Chelgren says Iowans travel to neighboring states to buy fireworks, and that his proposal gives that tax revenue to Iowa instead of leaving it in South Dakota and Missouri, where fireworks sales are legal.
The measure was immediately sent to a Senate subcommittee for consideration.
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