Count on Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) to bring fireworks to the Legislature. This year, our resident pyrotechnophiliac brings us Senate Bill 56, which does a lot of language clean-up (Legislative Research Council seems to be getting really intense about such efforts) but also makes some small policy changes.
Fireworkers will be happy to know, first off, that SB 56 does not raise any fees. It does impose some new regulations (again, what’s with the conservatives in this state, always expanding regulations for everything except guns in pants?).
Section 9 of Senate Bill 56 tweaks the restrictions on operating hours for firework shops. While current statute forbids sales of fireworks between midnight and 7 a.m. during our free-fire seasons, June 27–July 5 and December 28–January 1, SB 56 strikes those dates, applying those closing times to summer-long retailers as well.
Section 11 toughens our safety regulations at firework stands. SB 56 would double the safe smoking distance from 25 feet to 50 feet. Light up within that distance, and if you don’t blow yourself to kingdom come, you’ll be cited with a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Section 12 doubles the no-fire zone around firework stands from 150 feet to 300 feet, because—well, good grief, what are you thinking? That lack of foresight also becomes a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Section 22, perhaps makes up for Greenfield’s slight regulatory fit but, sadly, removes the signature language of Senator Greenfield’s great 2015 snake reform, in which he made a little girl’s dream come true by allowing kids to light firework snakes all year round. Section 22 strikes the word “snakes” and adds the more mundane and general, “Any fireworks classified as a novelty pursuant to section 3.2 of the American Pyrotechnics Association Inc., Standard 87-1, 2001 edition.” On the good side, that covers party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes and glow worms, wire sparklers, and dipped sticks.
So to the good, sparklers! glow worms! But to the bad, we remove an occurrence of the word “snakes” from statute, removing a reminder of this statute’s gentle genesis. I Cite the formal standard, sure, but let’s keep “snakes” explicitly mentioned in statute. That, and add “dipped sticks.” If there’s any phrase I want to hear coming out of legislators’ mouths, it’s “dipped sticks.” Say it fast and frequently in Pierre, and you could provoke fireworks from the Speaker of the House.