A bill that would reduce the number of days fireworks can legally be set off in Utah passed on the House floor and is up for consideration by the Utah Senate.
HB38 — sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville — would also increase fireworks restricted areas throughout the state.
This is the second time in six years legal firework days in Utah have been severely restricted.
In 2011, fireworks could be legally sold and used from June 26 until July 26, in addition to the Chinese New Year celebration.
In 2012, that number was reduced to only 14 days in the entire year. If the bill passes, selling and using fireworks will be legal in Utah for only 10 days.
Senator Jani Iwamoto R-Salt Lake City, sponsors the bill in the Senate.
Iwamoto said in a constituent newsletter that the changes are necessary because of the number of fire hazard issues in past years. The high volume of complaints leads to a lack of available responders, according to Iwamoto. Legislators hope the changes will create a safer environment for celebrations throughout the year.
Provo Fire Marshal Brad Adams said most complaints occur when residents set off fireworks past the time restrictions late at night. This bill would raise the maximum monetary fine for infractions to $1,000.
Speaking of high-risk zones, Dunnigan said this bill will provide additional tools to local government to enforce firework restrictions.
Iwamoto said these changes to fireworks restrictions are significant.
“I do feel that the ability of municipalities to ban areas which have historically been areas of risk is very important,” Iwamoto said.
The bill passed through committee unanimously, giving it a priority spot this session, which is why the House was able to pass it so quickly. The Senate has received the bill, and it was sent to the standing committee on Jan. 29.