The Minnesota House voted Monday to allow Minnesotans to buy and use more powerful aerial fireworks, but only during a five-week fireworks window in June and early July.
The House voted 77-50 to approve the bill, which allows skyrockets, firecrackers and multiple-tube devices, but only from June 1 to July 5 every year. The House bill also allows some local regulations that could restrict but not prohibit fireworks use.
Both changes were attempts by the House sponsor, Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, to meet concerns from local governments about the bill. It must now go back to the Senate, which passed a slightly different version. It then must go to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has not said whether he will sign the bill.
Minnesota currently allows small, ground-based fireworks such as sparklers, snakes and small cones. Kriesel's bill would open up the state to the full range of consumer fireworks, such as many Minnesotans now purchase legally in Wisconsin and set of illegally back home in Minnesota.
The bill has been opposed by fire chiefs, fire departments, emergency rooms and burn centers, who fear more fires and severe injuries and burns. In floor debate, an attempt to prohibit people from using fireworks if they are "under the influence" ran into strong opposition and was withdrawn.