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House passes Baldridge’s bill to allow Ohioans to discharge fireworks

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives passed on Thursday House Bill 172, legislation sponsored by State Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-90, that would remove the statewide ban on the discharge of fireworks and address the upcoming expiration of the moratorium for fireworks in Ohio.

“Every year, the 4th of July is marked with family picnics and parades as a way to celebrate our nation’s birthday and the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Baldridge said. “Even with all of this, each and every year brings disappointment when Ohio’s citizens cannot legally and honestly discharge fireworks as a means of celebrating with family, friends and neighbors.”

Current law requires consumer grade fireworks in the state to be transported out of the state within 48 hours of purchase and prohibits an individual from using 1.4G fireworks in Ohio.

House Bill 172 would allow for the discharge of fireworks, enact a four percent Firework Safety Fee on the gross sale of fireworks and establish the Ohio Fire Code Rule Recommendation Committee to advise in rulemaking regarding fireworks.

Baldridge’s office said funds from the four percent Firework Safety Fee would go to provide resources to the state fire marshal to design firework safety material, increase enforcement and regulation on the firework industry and help supplement the cost of firefighter training classes for local fire departments. Additionally, the fire marshal’s office will be required to design a firework safety pamphlet to be distributed to retailers to consumers at the point of sale to educate the consumer on proper safety precautions to take when using fireworks.

The Ohio Fire Code Rule Recommendation Committee would be made up of the state fire marshal, local fire chiefs, a local police chief, members of the Ohio State Pyrotechnics Association, a member of Prevent Blindness Ohio, a member of the Ohio Optometric Association, a member of the Ohio Pyrotechnic Arts Guild, a representative of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

All members would work cohesively to provide recommendations regarding firework usage, sale, manufacturing licensing and wholesaler licensing.

“Working with the State Fire Marshal’s office and local offices can make our state safer while allowing Ohioans to express their national pride and joy in a safe and responsible manner,” Baldridge said.

The bill passed by a vote of 73-23 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Baldridge, who was elected to the legislature in 2018, represents a district that covers part of Lawrence County.