Revamped fireworks bill unveiled at MN Capitol

Minnesota lawmakers are once again proposing an expansion of the state’s list of legal fireworks.

Legislation introduced Thursday in the House (HF 329) and Senate (SF 235) would allow the sale of “aerial and audible devices,” like bottle rockets and firecrackers. Current law allows only sparklers and other novelty devices.

The House passed a similar bill last session. But the Senate never took it up.

Rep. Jason Rarick, R-Pine City, said his reason for sponsoring the bill again is unchanged.

“Minnesotans are going to the Dakotas and to Wisconsin to buy the fireworks, they’re using them here,” Rarick said. “We’re missing out on a lot on a lot of sales taxes.”

Rarick said a new provision in this year’s bill would dedicate sales tax revenue from fireworks to a special fund to benefit local firefighters. Many of those firefighters have opposed expanding fireworks.

“I do not anticipate that it’s actually going to change their opinion on it,” he said.

Rarick said he also plans to push for year-round sales this time. Last year’s bill limited the sales to June 1 to July 10.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton as opposed previous fireworks bills and vetoed one in 2012.

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