Bill allows use of fireworks in state

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers are taking another crack at a fireworks bill aimed at closing one of the most ignored loopholes in state law.

Current law allows consumers to legally buy fireworks in Ohio, but requires they be taken out of the state within 48 hours of purchase and can’t be set off in the state. Critics of the law — and virtually any Ohio resident — have noted for years that the ban is widely ignored.

The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill on a bipartisan basis rescinding the out-of-state requirement. The legislation, headed next to the House, would also create an Ohio Fire Code Rule Recommendation Committee to review changes to the state fireworks law, and impose a 4% fee on purchases of consumer fireworks to pay for firefighter training programs

Under the bill, setting off consumer-grade fireworks would be limited to New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth, July 3, 4, and 5, as well as the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend, and Dewali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

“For too long Ohioans have been saddled with a consumer-grade fireworks law that was largely ignored and was all but unenforceable,” said Sen. Terry Johnson, a Republican from McDermott in southern Ohio who co-sponsored the bill with fellow Republican Michael Rulli of Salem in northeastern Ohio.