A bill introduced by Rep. Frank Farry, R-Bucks County, proposing to reform the state’s existing fireworks law was approved on Thursday by the Republican-controlled Senate by a vote of 44-6. It goes back to the House for concurrence.

Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate approved legislation on Thursday proposing reform to the state’s existing fireworks law, including restrictions on when they can be set off.

Anything short of a full ban on consumer-grade fireworks is little more than a half measure to appear as if we’re responding to constituent concerns without addressing the underlying problem that we created,
Sen. Judy Schwank

The legislation would limit the timeframe for using fireworks from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm, with an exception for July 2nd thru the 4th and December 31st, when fireworks can be used until 1:00 am the following day.

The bill also calls for redirecting some of the revenue generated by the fireworks tax to create EMS program grants and includes penalties for improper sales and illegal use.

Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, voted against the bill, saying the proposal is not a “real solution to the problem,” citing safety concerns not addressed by the legislation.

Schwank added that increasing penalties and fines “is meaningless” if police are overwhelmed and said if the police can’t cite violators, fines go unenforced citing feedback from law enforcement officials who can’t respond to calls in time or cite violators.

The House version of the bill, House Bill 2157, which passed 160 to 38 earlier this month would sentence a person to five to ten years in prison for setting off fireworks and would allow municipalities to place their own restrictions on the type of fireworks that can be set off.

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