COLUMBUS — Next year’s Fourth of July celebration likely will not have any more bang for Ohioans.
Gov. Mike DeWine has vetoed a bill that would have made fireworks legal in Ohio and, according to DeWine, would have made the state one of the least restrictive in regards to fireworks.
Senate Bill 113 passed the Senate, 24-8, and the House, 67-27. It would have allowed Ohioans to discharge bottle rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks 24 hours a day on 25 holidays during the year.
“SB 113 would be a dramatic change in Ohio law, which would make Ohio one of the least restrictive states in regard to fireworks law. For these reasons, this veto is in the public interest,” DeWine said in a statement.
Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, said the bill included safety measurers and would have allowed Ohioans to continue the tradition of setting off fireworks, but it would have allowed them to do it legally.
“Patriotic Americans have been, albeit illegally, shooting off fireworks in this state for as long as I can remember, without the safety measurers included in this legislation,” Rulli said when the Senate passed the bill.
Rulli also said the bill would help businesses, including Phantom Fireworks, which employs hundreds of people in the Youngstown area. It would have allowed fireworks stores to double their 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 measurers outlined in these studies but nevertheless doubles the square footage of stores that are selling these devices to the public,” DeWine said.
Nine people from Ohio and West Virginia died in Scottown in 1996 when a man started a fire with a lighted cigarette a fireworks store.