House votes to take away cities' ability to ban fireworks

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 5:05 p.m. MST

Holiday fireworks are now selling at a TNT fireworks stand in Salt Lake County Thursday, June 28, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House voted Wednesday to take away the ability of counties, cities and towns to ban fireworks.

Under HB289, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, municipalities would still be able to prohibit the discharge of fireworks in specified areas if the local fire officials determine that hazardous environmental conditions exist, but they wouldn't be allowed ban state-approved fireworks.

"Many appreciate the fact that local government and towns have the authority to ban legal fireworks in mountainous and brush-covered areas," Dunnigan said. "But we have some people in flat areas of Utah that maybe aren't brush-covered, and perhaps towns should not have the ability to ban in those areas."

The bill passed the House by a 73-1 vote now advances to the Senate.

Dunnigan said more and more municipalities are choosing not to allow fireworks.

"They said they do it because the law states that fireworks may be discharged but doesn't say they have to allow it," he said. "We are simply changing it from 'may' to 'shall.' We shall discharge fireworks on holidays."

The bill would not change the dates or hours of firework availability or the types of fireworks allowed to be discharged, Dunnigan said.

E-mail: rlowry@desnews.com

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