Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill Friday that would have permitted Ohioans to legally shoot off fireworks on several holidays.
When Senate Bill (SB) 113 was introduced by Ohio State Senators Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), the bill wanted to allow Americans to celebrate certain holidays legally, according to the Rulli press release.
Ohio residents would have been able to shoot off fireworks on New Year’s Eve/Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day Weekend, Juneteenth, July 3,4,5 and the previous and following weekends, Labor Day Weekend, and Diwali.
In addition, this bill would have allowed local municipalities the choice to ban the use of fireworks in their communities.
“Patriotic Americans have been, albeit illegally, shooting off fireworks in this state for as long as I can remember, without the safety measures included in this legislation,” said Rulli. “With proper parameters and safety precautions, Ohioans will soon be able to celebrate our holidays safely, while enjoying this time-honored tradition.”
In DeWine’s veto message, he said SB 113 would cause “dramatic” change in Ohio law and make the state “one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks laws.”
A concern DeWine noted in his veto message was allowing the doubling of square footage of fireworks stores from 5,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft. without “adequate safety features.”
“Since the Scottown, Ohio, (Lawrence County) fireworks store tragedy in 1996, there have been 2 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,” DeWine wrote. “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.”
With the veto of this bill, Ohio remains one of three states that only allows fireworks that are “wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items,” according to Reader’s Digest.
When the Ohio Legislature voted on this bill in late June, the House and Senate passed the bill 67 to 27 and 24 to 8 respectively.
For the Ohio Legislature to overturn DeWine’s veto, both chambers will need three-fifths of its members to vote “yes” for the bill.
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