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Fireworks bill hasn't fizzled yet

  • Article by: JIM RAGSDALE
  • Star Tribune
  • April 4, 2012 - 6:46 AM

A bill that would expand the types of fireworks that can be sold and used in Minnesota was dealt a setback in the Minnesota House on Tuesday.

After a lengthy debate, the House voted to send the bill back to committee for more work. DFL members argued that it should be heard by the House Government Operations and Elections Committee because the bill affects local governments' ability to regulate fireworks.

The sponsor, Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said the bill remains alive and could return to the House for a final vote. The companion bill is awaiting floor action in the Senate.

Currently, only ground-based fireworks such as snakes, sparklers and small fountains are legal in Minnesota. Kriesel said his bill was intended to legalize the full range of consumer fireworks that Twin Cities residents often purchase in Wisconsin and set off illegally in Minnesota, including firecrackers and rockets that explode in the air. His bill would allow sales at temporary installations such as roadside tents as well as at permanent stores.

Before the vote, the House held a lively debate that appeared to be leading to House passage of the measure.

"We can't wrap our world in Bubble Wrap," said Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL-St. Joseph, arguing in support. Opponents cited fears of fires and injuries and the opposition by fire and hospital officials. Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, called it "a ridiculous, reckless bill."

Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042

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