COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – We see them every Fourth of July, and the days before and after in many cases; bright explosions of color that brighten the sky over our neighborhoods.
Fireworks are synonymous with freedom and our independence, and yet they are illegal to set off here in Ohio.
You can buy them; you can transport them; but you can’t enjoy them, at least for now.
House Bill 226 would change that, allowing for the legalization and regulation of fireworks in the state.
It would bring the power of deciding whether fireworks will be allowed in communities back to the local level.
It also provides for educational opportunities with fire professionals to educate neighborhoods about the proper use of them.
State Representatives Martin Sweeney and Bill Seitz are sponsoring the bi-partisan bill which passed the House this week.
The bill did not get unanimous support, passing 83-14; but Sweeney is encouraged and hopeful it will make it through the Senate.
Sweeney says the moratorium on fireworks that has been perpetuated by the legislature for the past three decades was ill-conceived and an example of a useless law that was unenforceable.
The bill also lays the groundwork for bringing the manufacturing of fireworks to Ohio.
Sweeney says the technology involved in the creation of fireworks is far safer than it was decades ago and is not overly concerned about potential mishaps.
If passed, the bill would create a committee that would work out what legislative issues would need to be addressed for the storage, licensing, and manufacturing of fireworks by the end of 2019 so that those laws could be in place before fireworks would become legal in 2020.
The bill will be assigned to a Senate committee in the coming weeks.