Amended Utah fireworks bill advances

Fireworks • Lawmakers ease, then pass, new restrictions on lighting off fireworks.
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Senators decided Wednesday that a bill reducing when fireworks are allowed went a little too far. They added an extra hour for them on the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day — until midnight, instead of 11 p.m.

After adding that amendment, the Senate Business and Labor Committee voted 7-0 to endorse HB33.

Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, introduced it amid complaints about noise after he bill he passed last year allowed more spectacular fireworks — and allowed them to be ignited throughout July.

HB33 now would limit fireworks displays to three days before and three days after the July 4 and July 24 and set a curfew at 11 p.m. — except now at midnight on the two July holidays. Fireworks could also be ignited until 1 a.m. on New Year's Day and on the Chinese New Year.

The committee also amended the bill so that violation of time limits would be an infraction, instead of a misdemeanor. However, setting off illegal fireworks is still a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $5,0000.

The bill now goes to the Senate. The House had passed an earlier version. Because of the amendments, the bill would need also eventually to return to the House for approval of them.

Lee Davidson