Statewide, year-round sales of small fireworks ready for consideration by either chamber

A Senate committee this week approved legislation that would allow statewide, year-round sales of consumer fireworks and novelties, such as ground or hand-held sparklers and party poppers.

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development on Wednesday adopted a substitute version of SB289, Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence. It is similar, but not identical, to HB432 by Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, which the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee amended last week to grandfather in existing local laws that are more restrictive, while detailing the enforcement funding through the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Melson said his bill also includes those provisions.

Either bill could now be considered by their respective chambers.

The two bills use the federal definition of consumer fireworks: small devices designed to produce audible effects, ground devices containing 50 milligrams or less of flash powder and aerial devices containing 130 milligrams (2 grains) or less of flash powder.

“We are not talking about something that would make a big boom,” said Melson.

The bills would generate between $22,000 and $30,000 in additional revenue for enforcement, based on their fiscal notes. The bills also allow the State Fire Marshal to increase those fees every five years up to 2% based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers.

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