Committee votes to advance bill that would legalize fireworks in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Accountability and Oversight committee voted Wednesday to advance legislation that could eventually lift a statewide fireworks ban. 

The vote on House Bill 226 took place at a 9:30 a.m. meeting.

Right now, it is illegal for the average person to shoot off what's called "consumer grade" fireworks in Ohio.

Things like roman candles, fountains and firecrackers fall into this category

And these are the things you see being shot off in many neighborhoods every Fourth of July.

Lawmakers say a statewide fireworks ban is just not working.

House Bill 226 calls for a set of key guidelines including:

  • Allowing the use of consumer grade fireworks on personal property or with permission from the property owner.
  • Forbidding people from shooting off fireworks if they've been drinking or doing drugs
  • Fireworks sellers must stock safety goggles and either give them for free or offer for sale at a minimum price and stock safety guides
  • A four percent fee will be charged at the retail level that will go for firefighter training & enforcement and inspection of fireworks manufacturers and sellers.

Sweeney says this would standardize laws around the state and at the same time give municipalities flexibility.

The bill will have to be approved by both the House and Senate, and if passed on those levels, will advance to Gov. John Kasich for final approval.

If the bill passes, a study group made up of industry, lawmakers, the state fire marshal and medical professionals would be tasked to draft legislation that would go into effect in 2020.

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