VOTE ON DANGEROUS FIREWORKS BILL EXPECTED IN THE OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH
Health and Safety Advocates Urge Policy-Makers to Vote No on House Bill 226
Columbus, OH (September 11, 2017) – Members of the Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition urge Ohio citizens to contact members of the Ohio House of Representative’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to urge its members to vote no on House Bill 226 when they meet on September 13th.
Members of the committee can be found at: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/government-accountability-and-oversight
HB 226, if passed, legalizes the discharge of consumer grade fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers and missiles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with only minimal safety restrictions in place.
In the past year, the General Assembly has debated and passed several bills aimed at improving the safety of children and families.
There are already many professional, licensed fireworks shows available to celebrate our important holidays.
The health and safety ramifications of HB 226 are considerable and lawmakers are urged to vote no on HB 226 at the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Meeting on Wednesday, September 13, Ohio Statehouse, Room 114, 9:30 am.
The Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition is composed of over 40 statewide and regional organizations representing public health and safety organizations and businesses dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of backyard fireworks.
ROUND UP OF CONSUMER FIREWORKS IMPACT– SUMMER OF 2017
Fireworks cause unnecessary fires: Fireworks also cause over 17,000 fires nationwide each year and tens of millions of dollars in damage. 34,000+ acres of forest have been scorched in Oregon by a 15 year old who played with backyard fireworks just last week. Hundreds are still evacuated from their homes.
Fireworks cause serious injuries: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), estimated that injuries from fireworks sent 11,100 Americans to the emergency room last year with 68% occurring around the month of the Fourth of July holiday. Nearly 50% of injuries were to bystanders and 31% to children under 15 years of age. Sadly, the CPSC also reported 4 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths.
Other states legalizing use of consumer fireworks are experiencing buyer’s remorse: A poll recently came out in Iowa, a state that just experienced its first summer of legal consumer fireworks use after a decades-long ban. 67% of Iowans were in favor of consumer fireworks before the ban was lifted and only 47% were in favor after.
Three bills are being drafted in the Utah State Legislature to deal with personal fireworks, ranging from new restrictions to a statewide ban. These bills are being run in response to a flurry of calls and emails from constituents following some fireworks-fueled fires around the Fourth of July.
Since consumer fireworks were legalized in Michigan in 2012, annual petitions draw tens of thousands of signatures to ban their use and several lawmakers have attempted to introduce repeal legislation, whose success has been outweighed by the $1.6 million in annual tax revenue.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Annual Report is available in full at: http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/169197/2016FireworksReport.pdf
House Bill 226: is available at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-226
Opponent, Proponent and Interested Party Testimony on HB 226 (see May 31, June 7, June 21) can be found at: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/government-accountability-and-oversight