The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee today (February 10) held a public hearing on a bill that would legalize the sale of fireworks in Pennsylvania, according to Committee Chairman Senator Elder Vogel (R-47).
Senate Bill 1055, legislation introduced by Senator Vogel and his colleagues Senators Don White (R-41) and Gene Yaw (R-23) would lift the ban on the sale of “consumer” fireworks, known as “Class C” fireworks, and allow businesses legally operating in the state to sell consumer fireworks — such as bottle rockets, roman candles and mortars — to Pennsylvania residents without the need for a permit.
“It’s common sense to give Pennsylvanians the same convenience as out-of-state residents and at the same time help to provide funds for our first responders,” Senator Vogel said. “I’m looking forward to getting this prohibition off the books in Pennsylvania.”
Senate Bill 1055 would generate additional revenue for the Commonwealth by requiring fireworks outlets to pay a $5,000 annual license fee. In addition to paying the state’s 6 percent sales tax, fireworks purchases would be subject to an excise tax with that money benefiting fire and emergency medical personnel.
“Some states already allow for the sale and use of consumer fireworks without obtaining a permit,” said Senator White. “Our legislation simply removes this administrative hurdle, while funding essential EMS and fire programs.”
Testifiers at the hearing included: Michael Smith from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Jerry Bostocky from the National Council on Firework Safety; Don Konkle from the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Institute; Danial Peart of Phantom Fireworks; Jack May of Keystone Novelties; Bob Kellner and Brian Shaub of Kellner’s Fireworks and Keystone Fireworks; and, Charles Walker of TNT Fireworks.
“It is a fact of life that Pennsylvanians buy and use fireworks,” Senator Yaw said. “Currently, Pennsylvanians can buy Class C fireworks in surrounding states, but not in Pennsylvania. What we are proposing is a common sense approach. Pennsylvania is losing money and jobs by limiting the sale of consumer fireworks to state residents.”
Written testimony from the public hearing is available at http://agriculture.pasenategop.com/.
Click for video of the hearing.