Year-round sales of small fireworks on the governor’s desk

The House and Senate last week concurred in a conference committee rewrite of SB55 by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, which would allow year-round sales of consumer fireworks and novelties, such as wire sparklers and party poppers. It arrived on the governor’s desk at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4. If she signs it into law, the its provisions would be effective 60 days later.

On April 15, the Alabama House rewrote the Senate bill so that it would prohibit the sale of sparkling devises, such as handheld or ground-based sparklers at the retail level. The conference committee report restored sparkling device sales to the bill.

An amendment by Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, that allows cities to opt out of allowing sales of sparkling devises and novelties in their jurisdictions remains in the bill. “A municipality may enact an ordinance further restricting the sale or use of sparkling devices or novelties,” under the revised bill.  The State Fire Marshal would be responsible for keeping a list of ordinances enacted by municipalities restricting the sale or use of sparkling devices or novelties.

SB55 increases various fees for fireworks vendors and users. The permit cost for both annual and seasonal retailers selling aerial devices, sparkling devices, audible ground devices and novelties would increase from $200 to $300. There also is a range of permit costs based on the type of fireworks sold. According to the bill’s fiscal note, it would increase receipts to the State Fire Marshal’s Fund by an estimated $53,000 annually.

It allows the State Fire Marshal to increase fees every five years based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers. The increase cannot exceed 2% annually.

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