DeWine vetoes bill that would have made setting off fireworks legal in Ohio
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has vetoed a bill that would have made setting off fireworks legal in the state.
The governor made the announcement Friday about Senate Bill 113 while dedicating a bridge to the late State Rep. Don Manning.
As part of the reason behind the decision, DeWine says the bill doubles the allowable square footage of fireworks stores without requiring adequate safety features in those stores.
DeWine says if he had signed the bill, it would have made Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws.
"So there's a bill to be had out there that I could sign but this, unfortunately, was not the bill," DeWine said.
Senate Bill 113 had passed in both Ohio chambers
Current state fireworks laws make it legal to buy fireworks in Ohio as long as residents take them out of state within 48 hours. Senate Bill 113 would have changed that provision, allowing people to purchase and set off consumer-grade fireworks on certain days of the year.
DeWine's full statement can be read below.
Pursuant to Article II, Section 16, of the Ohio Constitution, which states that the Governor may disapprove of any bill, I hereby disapprove of Substitute Senate Bill 113 and set forth the following reasons for so doing as it is not in the best interest of Ohioans.
Substitute Senate Bill 113 (SB 113) would allow the discharge, by nonprofessionals, of fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers, and aerial fireworks, at all hours of the day (twenty-four hours per day) on a minimum of twenty-five (25) separate holidays in a calendar year (if certain holidays fall on a Sunday then two days would be allowed for that holiday increasing the number of allowable days).
The bill doubles the allowable square footage of fireworks stores, increasing them from 5,000 sq. feet to 10,000 sq. feet, without requiring adequate safety features in those stores with enhanced square footage.
Since the Scottown, Ohio, (Lawrence County) fireworks store tragedy in 1996, there have been two major studies, one by Battelle Labs in 2000 and another study by Southwest Research Institute in 2008 (produced for the fireworks industry) to help find better ways to build and operate fireworks stores. SB 113 does not require compliance with the safety measures outlined in these studies but nevertheless doubles the square footage of stores that are selling these devices to the public.
SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws.